Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Thousands Descend on National Mall for Science March

ISABEL BINAMIRA/THE HOYA Tens of thousands gathered at the National Mall on Saturday to march to the Capitol building.
Tens of thousands gathered at the National Mall on Saturday to march to the Capitol building.

The March for Science drew tens of thousands of marchers, including Georgetown students, to the National Mall on Saturday in support of science and in protest of policies of President Donald Trump’s administration that critics consider anti-science.

The protest, corresponding with National Earth Day celebrations, was accompanied by more than 600 concurrent “satellite marches” on all seven continents and included scientists, environmental activists, students and other science advocates.

A roster of speakers in scientific fields invigorated protestors at a rally, stressing the importance of science in solving key issues like climate change, prior to a march from the Washington Monument to the U.S. Capitol Building.

The march takes place in the context of a series of actions by Trump’s administration that have been criticized for hindering research funded by the federal government.

The administration’s proposed budget included cuts to the National Institute of Health and the Department of Energy’s Office of Science. Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency Scott Pruitt has also expressed skepticism about the role of human activity in climate change.

Rachelle Bonja (SFS ’20), who participated in the march, said she finds it unfathomable that many Americans, even in the present day, do not take scientific findings seriously.

“I went because I think it is outrageous that it is 2017 and some people can still question scientific evidence,” Bonja wrote in an email to The Hoya. “Also, I think it is important to just show up because every person at these protests makes a difference.”

Bonja said she was impressed with the determination of the marchers despite persistent rain throughout the march.

“The crowd was extremely devoted. I was so surprised with how many people showed up given the rain,” Bonja wrote. “Everyone was marching with their umbrellas and ponchos and they kept going.”

Anna Braendle (COL ’19) also attended the march and said she was inspired by the crowd of passionate pro-science advocates marching with her.

“The individuals in the crowd ranged from those that had earned PhDs and MDs to people that simply understood the need to advance science and were willing to stand in the pouring rain to make their voices heard,” Braendle wrote in an email to The Hoya. “I had never been among so many people that felt the same passion for science as I did. Without science there would be no cancer survivors or beer.”

As a science student at Georgetown, Braendle said she enjoyed taking action on what she has learned in the classroom.

“Since beginning my science studies here, I have learned more and more about the importance of research and the application of science. Science is for everyone,” Braendle wrote. “When a government threatens to take away the funding of something that affects so many aspects of our human life, usually for the better, I felt the urge to do something about it.”

Another marcher, Alice Beneke (COL ’19), said her passion for her minor led her to attend the march.

“I decided to attend the March for Science because as someone who is pursuing a minor in biology and hopefully a healthcare profession one day, science is a huge part of my daily life,” Beneke wrote in an email to The Hoya.

Expressing her disappointment thus far with the Trump administration’s stance on science, Bonja said she remained hopeful that the March for Science would make a difference.

“I have been disappointed with the current administration, and it makes me happy to see that people are not silently accepting their fate,” Bonja wrote. “I know that if the resistance keeps going and people continue to be vocal about things that matter to them, there will be a difference in policy-making.”

Braendle came away from the march with optimism about science’s strong base of supporters and advocates.

“These events demonstrate that other people have the same frustrations that I have. It shows me that while maybe the current government doesn’t understand the importance of science, there are still many other people that do,” Braendle wrote. “Together we can make a difference for what we believe in.”

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