Fossil Free WashU, Fight for $15 come together to rally on Brookings

| Editor-in-Chief

Fossil Free WashU rallied for fossil fuel divestment and in opposition of climate change denial Wednesday.

The rally started outside the Danforth University Center where students and professors made speeches. Protestors then marched to Seigle Hall – in recognition of board member Harry Seigle’s letter denying climate change – and ended in Brookings Quadrangle where they joined forces with the Fight for $15 Brookings occupation.

Fossil Free WashU members march around Mudd Field. Beth Wiesinger | Student Life

Fossil Free WashU members march around Mudd Field.

According to Fossil Free WashU Director of Communication and sophomore Eddie Ives, the rally was “inspired” by Seigle’s recent letter to a member of Fossil Free WashU denying climate change.

“We found … [Harry Seigle’s letter] quite insane – that that opinion not only exists on this campus, but is in a voting power on the board of trustees … and as students, that does not represent how we feel, and their decisions should represent us,” Ives said. “His opinion is isolated, it should be isolated, and shouldn’t be allowed to be in power.”

In addition to Fossil Free WashU’s speakers, a representative from Asian and Pacific Islanders Demanding Justice, senior Abby Wong, and anthropology professors Glenn Stone and Bret Gustafson spoke at the rally.

Wong emphasized the international impact of fossil fuel use.

“We know that climate change doesn’t just start and stop from the west coast to the east coast of the United States, that there’s this whole other side of the earth that climate change affects. … The call for divestment isn’t just about the air, the earth and the water that you and I share in this city. It’s so much more,” Wong said. “The reach is so much farther. We share our earth and therefore divestment has a shared impact.”

Professor Bret Gustafson gives a speech at the Fossil Free WashU rally. The group rallied to demand divestment in response to climate change denial.Beth Wiesinger | Student Life

Professor Bret Gustafson gives a speech at the Fossil Free WashU rally. The group rallied to demand divestment in response to climate change denial.

Gustafson focused on Chancellor Mark Wrighton’s role in fossil fuel investments in his speech.

“Everyone is commemorating Chancellor Wrighton these days,” Gustafson said. “Well, if running a university is about doing the bidding of wealthy people and corporations with their values in the wrong place, then you’ve done a great job, Chancellor Wrighton.”

When the rally marched to Brookings Quadrangle, Fight for $15 and Fossil Free WashU joined together in chants and speeches. A member of Fight for $15 and Ph.D. candidate Adam Manfredi gave a speech to the crowd in Brookings.

“It’s great to see all the undergrads out here fighting for the divestment of fossil fuels,” Manfredi said. “We met with the chancellor, we met with the provost, we’ve met with everyone we can, and each time they say, ‘We’ll think about it later.’ Well, we can’t wait till later.”

Sign up for the email edition

Stay up to date with everything happening as Washington University returns to campus.

Subscribe