Georgetown University participated in the Worldwide Teach-In on Climate/Justice to amplify advocacy for sustainable solutions.
The event, which took place March 30 and April 1, was organized by a team at Bard College’s graduate program in sustainability. The event involves around 1000 communities, including K-12 schools, universities and a variety of religious organizations representing multiple faiths. The Teach-In aims to provide education on how to build a cleaner future through various panel discussions, informational sessions and art exhibitions.
Laura Rockefeller (SFS ’22), Citizens’ Climate Lobby president — a nonprofit bipartisan advocacy organization that builds support for local and federal climate legislation — said institutions of higher education play a key role in endorsing clean innovation.
“One thing that we tend to push for is for university presidents to publicly endorse carbon fees and dividends because that sends a message,” Rockefeller told The Hoya. “Often universities have political weight in their local communities and that starts to legitimize carbon fee and dividend as a policy solution. It’s basically taxing carbon emissions.”
Georgetown Walsh School of Foreign Service Professor Cynthia Wei said the Teach-In situated Georgetown within a wider conversation about sustainability with fellow Washington, D.C. area schools.
“I would really emphasize the unique nature of the cross-campus collaboration across 9 different universities, this includes all DC area universities,” Wei wrote to The Hoya. “This group- which we have yet to name- hopes that this Teach-In is just the start of conversations across our campuses around these critically important issues of climate, justice, and sustainability.”
Nine D.C.-based universities, including George Washington University, American University and Howard University, collaborated to organize cross-campus events, including lectures and information sessions.
Georgetown hopes to continue collaborating with these universities on similar events in the future, Wei said.
“There is a coalition of faculty and staff across these universities; we have been meeting to organize these events, and we hope to continue our work together well beyond this day,” Wei said.
The university supports discussions about the global impacts of climate change, as well as its impact on Georgetown and the District.
“We are thankful for the organizers of the Climate Teach-in for bringing that conversation to the Georgetown community. We all have an opportunity to contribute to stopping climate change. Even just lowering our consumption of delivered goods or electricity can make a big difference,” a spokesperson wrote to The Hoya.
The Teach-In incorporated a number of student groups and university programs in panels, galleries and lectures. Events at the student-organized Teach-In included a climate change informational session at the Georgetown University Farmers Market and a virtual panel discussion between Georgetown’s main campus in the District and its campus in Qatar. The discussion focused on the issues both campuses face related to climate change.
Georgetown Renewable Energy and Environmental Network (GREEN), a student-run sustainability organization, tabled in Red Square during the Teach-In, inviting students to stop by and learn about sustainability initiatives like composting and the importance of pollination.
GREEN co-president Brooke Hodge (SFS ’24) spoke at the Connecting on Climate Event panel between the main campus and the campus in Qatar.
Hodge said GREEN helped to plan events for the Teach-In.
“The GREEN education and bees teams have been involved in developing plans for the teach-in over the past few weeks and our zero-waste, bees, and education teams are all tabling at the farmers market as a part of the teach-in,” Hodge wrote to The Hoya. “GREEN also helped promote the events through our club’s media outlets.”
The event was a collaboration between Georgetown’s main campus in the District and its campus in Qatar, according to Hodge.
While the Teach-In unites university offices and organizations to discuss climate justice, this event is primarily student organized, according to Meghan Chapple, vice president of Sustainability at Georgetown.
“Talking about climate and the impacts climate change is having on Georgetown University and the District of Columbia–in addition to the impacts on global heat, storm intensity, and sea level rise–is an important component of climate action,” Chapple wrote in an email to The Hoya.
Rockefeller said events like the Teach-In foster a collaborative environment for achieving environmental justice.
“This has been a great collaborative effort, and we’re so excited to see the turn out and see people participate,” Rockefeller said. “It’s a really great way to highlight all the fantastic environmental work that’s going on at Georgetown. There’s so much happening with everyone doing different things and that’s really special to see.”
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