This year, parents, educators and students alike are restless with a desire for activism. With so many issues plaguing the country and world, finding a cause to support is as easy as opening the window and perking your ears up to the voices of the courageous men and women, rallying the public for support. Within these crowds, you will find feminists, scientists, environmentalists — the list goes on. Recently, in both the United States and other countries, activists have stood up on a monumental scale through walk-outs, marches and protests.
In the past year, Rider students have attended events like the March for Science and the People’s Climate March, both in support of backing legislation and policy with scientific inquiry rather than personal belief.
Active students, like freshman biology major Katerina Tsekouras, have participated in such events.
“It shows all the members of a community coming together to challenge political ideals and show others what they’re passionate about,” she said.
Among the most pressing matters at hand, the White House aims to reduce the budget of the Environmental Protection Agency by more than 23 percent. This same agency has been conducting critical studies on climate change and human impact on the environment. Unfortunately, not everyone understands the extent to which we have affected our planet and how quickly the long-lasting effects begin to set in.
The fight is far from over. Now more than ever, men and women are standing up for what is right. This past weekend, on April 14, a group of students from Rider were bused to Trenton for the March for Science. This was a satellite location for the March for Science that occurred in Washington, D.C. Satellite marches strengthened the heart of the cause, as the span of this movement continues to increase.
Over the years, activism at Rider has increased, due primarily to the political state of the country. However, many people feel that not enough is being done. Julie Drawbridge, professor of biology and behavioral neuroscience, admits “there’s probably not as much [activisim] as I would like,” but the people are on the road to change. “If we try our best to use the best information at our disposal, we are likely to do better than if we don’t” she said.
It’s the growing hope that the feelings of indignation that are present here at Rider will stretch beyond the students in the science department.
In addition to attending protests and marches, Rider is a part of the progressive campaign #OurTomorrow. This multi-university collaboration is connecting students across the nation in an effort to increase civic engagement and collaborate ideas on how to better their communities and universities. #OurTomorrow is nonpartisan and includes diverse perspectives. More companies are going green with conversions to renewable energy sources and partnerships with organizations that aim toward a more sustainable future. Palmer’s, Patagonia and Taco Bell have been Rainforest Alliance certified, meaning they meet environmental standards. Small actions like purchasing from sustainable and eco-friendly brands may be the beginning of your own fight.
With so many people coming together, and many opportunities to become educated, it has never been easier to ignite social or political change. Although some issues have remained unchanged over the years at Rider, the passion to stand up for what’s right has held an unwavering presence since before the current students were born. My eyes have been opened wider than ever to the instability and discord that plagues our planet, but we have the power to change it. We all have the opportunity to make change in the world. The only question that remains is, what are you going to do with it?
— Alina Bardaji,
Lawrenceville eco rep
Printed in the 4/25/18 issue.