Bates College, through administrative and student organized efforts, works hard to implement policies to make our campus environmentally friendly. Newer buildings such as Pettengill Hall and Commons have gained recognition from national organizations in their endeavors to be environmentally conscious. It would be unfair to say that the majority of the green movement on campus stems from the administration; in fact, much of the efforts come from the Green Action Alliance, which until this year has been referred to as Bates Environmental Action Movement (B.E.A.M.)
Along with this new name also comes a change in the direction of the organization. For the past few years, the Green Action Alliance has focused much of its efforts on a campaign for divestment: they encouraged Bates administration to remove endowment investments from firms entrenched in the use of coal and other fossil fuels, and instead choose more environmentally friendly energy investments. During this campaign, members of the Green Action Alliance found that the conversation of divestment was largely political and allegedly infeasible due to the endowment’s size, and that perhaps the organization would benefit in taking a different direction.
In restructuring the organization and their goals, “the Green Action Alliance will now work to create short-term tangible goals around campus,” organization President Ali Mackay ‘16 said. By focusing efforts on smaller scale and perhaps more attainable goals, the Green Action Alliance hopes to foster change on campus that will ultimately culminate in increased green activity and environmental responsibility on the part of the administration.
These short-term goals could possibly consist of monthly installments in which a theme or topic is designated to engage students in a conversation about how Bates and our lifestyles could be more environmentally friendly.
While the Green Action Alliance is heading in a new direction, it will still maintain efforts to engage students in the larger discussion on climate change beyond the Bates campus. Last year, the Green Action Alliance promoted a trip to New York City to participate in the People’s Climate March. The organization found an overwhelming amount of success displayed by the amount of students who signed up for the trip, and the support they raised during the march itself. By promoting events such as this, with a heavy emphasis on the inclusion and participation of Bates students, the Green Action Alliance believes that a more invested conversation on climate change can occur.
This coming weekend, Bates students and faculty will be given another opportunity to voice their concerns and opinions on climate change. On October 2, from 12:00 PM to 1:00 PM, “Know Tomorrow”—a national organization represented on campus by Andrew Segal ‘17 in collaboration with the Green Action Alliance—will be “hosting an hour of festivities to help synchronize our voice with others in our generation as we call for action on global climate change,” as expressed on the event’s info page.
Members of the Bates community will have the opportunity to engage in this discussion starting with this week’s installment of Tuesday Tea. The meeting will be held at 4:00 PM in Frye Street Union, where the Green Action Alliance will be hosting their first event under the organization’s new name.