In 2012, Unity College, known as America’s Environmental College, made history when the board of trustees voted unanimously to become the first institution of higher education to divest its investment portfolio from fossil fuels. Since then, others have followed Unity College’s lead, beginning a national trend among institutions of higher education.
On Friday, September 20, Unity College will join more than 2,500 groups worldwide in acknowledgment of the Global Climate Strike. The movement began with youths raising awareness of the current climate crisis by walking out of classes every Friday. These were dubbed Fridays for Future school strikes.
With the upcoming UN climate summit, those Fridays for Future have evolved into the Global Climate Strike taking place September 20, as a way to pressure governmental organizations around the world to take action against climate change. Kaya Pulz, a senior Sustainable Agriculture major who serves as President of Unity College’s Beekeeping Club, brought the idea of Unity joining the strike to college President Dr. Melik Peter Khoury. He agreed that the sentiment behind the strike fit perfectly with the College’s mission and the event had his full support.
“On this day, we are joining hands with millions of fellow beings to give a voice to the voiceless, to fight against our economic dependency on fossil fuels, to devote our lives to being less convenient and more conscious,” said Pulz. “Our resiliency gives me hope that one day I won’t have to fight for climate justice because we will have learned to coexist with Mother Nature.”
To help celebrate the Global Climate Strike, Unity College students, staff, and faculty are invited to gather at 10:45 a.m. with the march beginning at 11 a.m. which will bring them to the College’s Amphitheater where Kaya and Dr. Khoury will address attendees. Afterward there will be an eco-product raffle, signing of a Climate Strike banner, and a locally sourced, sustainable barbecue lunch at the award winning Wyman Commons.
“I am thrilled to see our students take this kind of initiative. When Kaya came to me with this idea, I was immediately on board,” said President Khoury. “When it comes to climate change, here at Unity College we walk the walk. We live our mission. We educate the environmental leaders of the future, and it’s clear to me that Kaya and her peers are already taking on that role as undergraduates. I’m very proud.”