On Saturday, April 29, around 55 Penn State students will be traveling to Washington D.C. by bus to participate in the People’s Climate March in Washington D.C. The trip is being sponsored by two Penn State environmental advocacy groups, Eco Action and Fossil Free PSU, and organized by Eco Action President Maddy Nyblade, as well as members Lucien Simpfendoerfer, Alison Kelly, Arin Lewis, and Zak Kalp, among others. The Underground will be traveling with the group to provide live coverage of the March, particularly through live tweeting and on-the-ground live interviews.
The March is being held on the 100th day of the Trump administration, and is meant to “show the world and our leaders that we will resist attacks on our people, our communities and our planet. We will demonstrate our power and resistance at the gates of the White House.” Although the March is broadly focused on the issue of climate change, the organizers intend to specifically highlight its intersectional nature: the solutions they are advocating for are “rooted in racial, social and economic justice, and committed to protecting front-line communities and workers.”
Eco Action released a press release stating that “The voices of Penn Staters will join a diverse chorus of protesters united in tackling climate change, and promoting an economy that works for jobs and the planet.” President Nyblade framed her decision to march as stemming from her belief that “Many young people feel voiceless in the current political climate. This march is one way they can have their voices heard. We hope the students marching will be inspired by the overwhelming power of a march. We hope they take this energy back home by engaging in local politics and speaking out on issues they feel strongly about.”
Zachary Kalp, an organizer of the trip and undergraduate political science student, said that he was marching because “Congress and the President need to make climate change their top priority. We can’t afford to sit back and do nothing. That’s what this march is about for me.” Alison Kelly, another organizer and an undergraduate plant science and philosophy student, said “I am marching because I feel inspired knowing that there are so many other people who care and want to mobilize for climate change.” Lucien Simpgendoerfer, a graduate meteorology student, is “marching because this country’s lack of action is ridiculous.”
The bus will depart at 5:00 a.m. from the IST building, and will arrive in Washington D.C. at 9:00 a.m. at the National Geographic Headquarters. After breakfast, the group will walk 2.2 miles to the United States Capitol where the March will start. There are eight distinct blocs that will make up the March line; these Penn State students will be in the “Guardians of the Future” portion, along with kids, parents, elders, and other youth. Once all are in line, at 12:30 p.m. the Marchers will walk up Pennsylvania Avenue N.W. toward the White House. A full map of the March’s path is attached below, and can be found here.
At 2:00 p.m., once all March participants have reached the White House and effectively surrounded it, all “will sit down for 100 seconds to symbolize the first 100 days of the Trump administration.” After the sit-in, at 3:00 p.m. the March will continue onto the Washington Monument for the closing “We Rise” event. It will feature “a plethora of art, from multiple large-scale installations to ‘Circles of Resistance,’ participatory art spaces meant to connect and share the stories of frontline communities being painted and brought in from communities all over the country.” There will also be several musical performances and speakers present.
At 4:30 p.m., the Penn State students will meet back at the buses to return to State College. The bus is projected to return by 9:00 or 10:00 p.m.; there will be an after-March party at 10:30 “to celebrate the amazing day.”
For students interested in participating, there are still tickets available for a separate bus trip being organized by The Moshannon Group, one of 10 Pennsylvania Sierra Club groups. The buses will leave at 6:00 a.m., and tickets cost $10 for Penn State students.
For those students unable to attend the March in Washington D.C., Central PA People’s Climate Day will take place at the Sydney Freedman Park in downtown State College, and will feature “live music, inspiring speakers, hands-on activities, community groups, poetry, farmers, and more.” The Facebook page for the event can be found here. The Underground will be covering that event as well.
Photo Credit: Adriana Lacy