Courtesy of EnergyInnovation.org
Sustainability and climate change are incredibly important topics for students, faculty and staff here at Case Western Reserve University. With that combined interest, various student organizations, such as CWRU’s chapter of the Sunrise Movement and the Student Sustainability Council have come together to bring awareness to climate change and how we, as students, can become involved in mitigating this threat.
The Climate Action Network, or CWRUCAN, is another program here at CWRU whose goal is to bring campus sustainability efforts forward through student-faculty-staff collaboration. Founded in 2020 as one Seed of the Office of the Provost’s funded Culture Change for Climate Change effort, CWRUCAN has created an outlet and platform for students who care about climate change mitigation. The purpose of CWRUCAN is to have a permanent body on campus that is actively programming and planning as a climate action group, making it distinct from temporary student clubs.
Thus, the First Annual Climate Action Week was born.
“[Climate Action Week] is an attempt to showcase all of the amazing things people are doing on campus when it comes to climate and sustainability, in order to mobilize those actions both on campus and in the broader community. We are presenting it as the first annual climate action week so we hope to have it go in the future. Basically to get people motivated about the climate,” said one organizer of the event, Matthew Hodgetts, a political science professor here at CWRU.
He said further, “The goals [of Climate Action Week] are basically to start conversations, to highlight what people are doing, to show ways or emphasize ways to get students involved in these organizations, generating ideas, momentum. As an institution, we have so many people working on these things but we haven’t had a place to work on them together.”
And Climate Action Week has done just that. Starting on Friday, March 18 with keynote speaker Sonia Aggarwal, Senior Advisor on Climate Policy and Innovation at the White House and ending on Friday, March 25 with volunteering opportunities with MedWish available and fun crafts in partnership with the LGBTQ Center having a sustainable theme. Each day within the week had a different topic of conversation relating to climate change mitigation.
With speakers, panels, tabling in Tinkham Veale University Center, fun crafts, volunteering opportunities and other activities, Climate Action Week was a phenomenal opportunity for those who weren’t quite sure about how to get involved in climate action on campus, with an upfront and comfortable setting.
Reflecting on this week of climate action and sustainability, Hodgetts stated, “The hope is that students come away from this inspired to go out there, join clubs, start initiatives, take classes, ask questions; this is a very real issue and we ought to be mobilizing around it as a campus community. This is a way to showcase how to get involved. Get informed, get involved, make some noise.”
For further information about how to get involved with student groups centered around climate change efforts at CWRU and its surrounding areas, visit the Climate Action Network website.