Green Action should have chosen better venue

Kim Gaspar | Class of 2014

After hearing of Green Action’s protest at the Bank of America recruiting event on campus, I am left thinking less about the environmental consequences of mountaintop coal mining and more about the students whose information session was thwarted. I am disappointed in Green Action’s choice of venue for their protest and their ignorance, albeit unintentional, of the negative consequences for Washington University students seeking employment with Bank of America.

A company information session is an event where students can talk directly with recruiters and get to know more about the positions available at a firm. Staging a protest at this event inflicts more harm on fellow students than on Bank of America. What will the recruiters remember from their Wash. U. visit? It is unlikely that they will remember any of the standout students who attended the event. Also, any irritation caused by the protesters could very well taint any impressions that interested students were able to make on the recruiting team. At least one Wash. U. student who attended the Bank of America information session expressed irritation with the disruption on Facebook. I find it regrettable that a student group protest could so negatively affect a fellow Wash. U. student’s career opportunities.

Was this information session the only available venue for Green Action to voice its opposition, and was the appropriate audience reached? I do not believe so. Foremost the recruiting team has little to no influence on the loans that Bank of America decides to grant. In this regard, the protest failed to reach actionable Bank of America employees. If the purpose of the protest was solely to raise awareness of the environmental consequences of mountaintop coal mining and Bank of America’s role in funding these mining companies, why did it need to be done at the expense of other Wash. U. students? Wash. U. has a Bank of America location on the Danforth Campus and multiple Bank of America ATMs are located on the South 40, the Village and main campus. Why didn’t Green Action protest near these locations? Or why didn’t they approach the Wash. U. administration about supporting Bank of America’s presence on our campus?

I hope that in the future, Wash. U. student groups will not get caught up in the glamour of a protest and consider the total consequences of their actions on fellow Wash. U. students.

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