In her environmental ethics class, Philomena Engel said she and her classmates get frustrated while talking about climate change.
“We felt like there wasn’t very much that we can do to help make change regarding this,” the senior anthropology and classics major said.
So, at half past noon Monday she and nine other people decided to put together a strike. People gathered with signs carrying slogans about the environment under Shafer Tower with the intent of marching down to the Quad.
The event's Facebook page also included suggestions for demands voted on by her and the group of people who decided to participate in the event. These demands, if not being already implemented will Ball State, she said will be presented to the university’s administration.
Engel said she will be meeting with Jim Lowe, associate vice president for facilities planning and management at Ball State, to see which of their demands are already being met by Ball State.
Some of these demands include increasing investment in produce, herbs and meat from local farms, incorporating education on Muncie’s recycling system during orientation or Welcome Week and making future Ball State buildings carbon neutral among many others, according to the event page.
Engel said she was largely inspired by the work of Greta Thunberg, Swedish environmental activist who rose to prominence during the global climate strikes. Engel thought it’d be interesting to hold strikes similar to those held by Thunberg, although she doubts it’d be on a weekly basis.
Scott Rice-Snow, professor of environment, geology and natural resources, who teaches climate change-related classes said he occasionally tries to make a public statement about the subject and the event presents an opportunity to do so on Ball State’s campus.
“I think the fact that we have people driving by this site [and] the signs I think make a statement,” Rice-Snow said. “They bring back to mind that this is a continuing urgent issue for our society. And the fact that some people are willing to take time out of the middle of a work day to make that statement, I think is significant.”
William Brink, a junior visual arts education major, who had a booth set up nearby on University Green, said he thought what the students were doing was a good cause.
“I don’t really think they’re obstructing anyone, so I think it’s probably fine,” he said. “I think that that any form of political activism that doesn’t directly inconvenience people or cause societal issues is good regardless of the cause, just because I think it allows people to enact their political freedoms.”
Contact Rohith Rao with comments at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @RaoReports.