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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Univ. should lead in environmental issues

Published: October 23, 2014
Section: Editorials

In this week’s issue, The Brandeis Hoot featured an article about on-campus environmental activism, past, present and future. The article addresses, among other important points, the lack of effort made by Brandeis administration to meet goals related to environmental sanity and campus sustainability. Students and faculty members spoke at the event and made their opinion clear: Brandeis University can and should do better on these issues. We at The Hoot support this goal. As the majority of research has consistently shown, climate change is one of the most pressing and potentially catastrophic issues of our time, particularly for the millennial generation that the majority of Brandeis students belong to. The optimal time for action has passed, but that does not absolve institutions from working toward a sustainable future.

As an educational institution, particularly one that is based on ideals of social justice, Brandeis is a place that dedicates itself to providing a path to the future for its students. As shown by the article in this week’s paper and the activities of student groups such as the Brandeis Divestment Campaign and Students for Environmental Action, the environment is an important issue for many Brandeis students. For some students, the issue hit close to home, motivating them to organize a trip to New York City to take part in the massive climate march this September. This was a movement The Hoot highlighted last week, in our article titled “Brandeis student activists find solidarity behind bars.” In this case, students and alumni felt the issue of climate change was of the absolute utmost importance. “I should get arrested as much as possible if it helps the movement,” said Naveh Halperin ’12, in a recent interview with The Hoot. Halperin was one of the multiple Brandeis students and alumni arrested at the Flood Wall Street march, a response to the connection between the perpetuation of climate change and corporate greed.

These news articles, as well as recent opinion pieces in The Hoot that highlighted the issue of light pollution on campus, illustrate that Brandeis students are incredibly invested in making the world a greener place. We at The Hoot urge the administration to join hands with students and adapt Brandeis’ operations to be more sustainable.

Our education at Brandeis is a path toward the “real world,” which may include finding a job or starting a family. The extracurricular work students do, whether in clubs, internships or other outlets, gives students the experience needed to thrive in the world. Brandeis’ constant promotion of elements of social justice encourage students to help build a world that reflects the values imparted on campus.

To ignore or fall short of progress in the area of environment sustainability defies that ideal. We at The Hoot call on the Brandeis administration to work with students in order to create a clearer path toward sustainability. Students must have the ability to communicate easily with the administration and trustees in order to, at the very least, discuss the implementation of ideas. We ask that Brandeis be held accountable to the voices being raised in the community, people who have proved they are firmly dedicated to the issue of climate change. Recently, California’s Pitzer College announced its financial divestment from fossil fuels, the largest educational institution to do so as of now. Brandeis has an endowment more than seven times that of Pitzer; surely it can afford to at least talk to its students about making campus a little more green.