Masters students set to take part in Youth Climate Strike

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Masters students set to take part in Youth Climate Strike

Mark Dixon - Flickr

Mark Dixon - Flickr

Mark Dixon - Flickr

Michael Leo

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After weeks of behind-the-scenes planning and meetings between administrators and students, administration granted Masters students the opportunity to be excused from school, this Friday, Sept. 20, to attend the Youth Climate Strike, which will be held in New York City.

This past Wednesday at 3 p.m., Interim Head of Upper School Peter Newcomb sent an email to the Upper School, announcing the postponement of all Founders Day activities in favor of allowing students to attend the Strike. Now, Masters students can play a meaningful role in this historical event, without facing any penalty, other than making up the classwork they miss on Friday.

 The thousands who will be attending will begin in Foley Square and march to Battery Park in protest of the inaction and lack of urgency surrounding the climate emergency. Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swede and wunderkind in the world of environmental activism, is leading the initiative. Thunberg has just arrived in New York after a two-week sail from her home country as she did not want to burn fossil fuel to come speak at the United Nations Climate Change Summit.

Newcomb’s announcement was made just over three weeks after Senior co-presidents of EFFECT Olivia Sharenow and Sophia Forstmann’s initial outreach to administration on Aug. 26. Following deliberation and meetings between the stakeholders on Sep. 10 and 18, they decided that this solution was the best way to support student activism while giving students the freedom to choose if they wish to participate in the march or attend class.

Newcomb, in connecting the Strike to the School’s mission statement said, “We want our students to be ‘powers-for-good’ in the world and this is a great opportunity for them to do so.”

For those who don’t wish to take the opportunity to strike, administration  has planned a number of on-campus activities focused on the issue of climate change.

Faculty advisor of EFFECT Courtney White said she is  extremely satisfied with the result of the hard work put into creating this opportunity for environmental activism. She said, “I find it really admirable that students are finding ways to responsibly practice activism.”

White emphasized the ongoing relevance of climate action. She said, “It doesn’t just stop at the Climate March. What matters is the follow through.”

EFFECT is planning a week dedicated to climate activism to continue the efforts of the Strike, which will include letter-writing to Congress to push stricter legislation surrounding climate change and a trip to Columbia Law School to listen to experts speak about advocating for climate change policy.

Forstmann and Sharenow consider this a great victory for not only this climate strike, but for sustainability at Masters. Sharenow said, “Putting sustainability at the forefront of Masters and making it a part of our school culture is a big part of what we’re trying to do.”

(This is an ongoing story and will be updated accordingly.)

 

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