BC Students, Faculty and Staff Walkout for Climate Justice

Group photo of Climate

Bellevue College students, faculty and staff walked out of their classrooms and offices in a Walkout for Climate Justice Sept. 25, joining people the world over in sounding the alarm on rapidly escalating climate change and calling on leaders to enact desperately needed change.

Climate striker holding a sign that says Our Planet is on Fire

Immediately following the walkout, the BC community hosted an open session with Leith Sharp on managing the emotional burden of participating in social and climate justice discussions. Sharp is the director and lead faculty for the Executive Education for Sustainability Leadership program at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and a co-founder of Leaders on Purpose.

Leith Sharp presenting to students
Leith Sharp (right)

 

“We hope to educate our community by drawing attention to the ongoing global climate crisis,” said BC sustainability director Amber Nicholson. “We’re also encouraging active participation with local organizations that are working toward climate justice, making personal changes, and getting involved in sustainability and social justice efforts on campus.”

Bellevue College is currently celebrating a Year of Climate Justice, working to update the campus Climate Action Plan and is hosting a Fall Sustainability Series, in which the campus community may partake in a variety of events surrounding climate justice topics such as food production, alternative transportation, biodiversity, waste management and energy efficiency.

Amber Nicholson
Amber Nicholson addresses the gathering

 

“Climate Justice is about how our changing global climate is deeply connected with issues of social justice and equity,” said Nicholson. “We cannot solve the climate crisis if we do not approach it equitably, as all people and ecosystems are interconnected.”

 

Students participating in the walkout

 

With Bellevue College’s biggest carbon footprint coming from single-occupancy travel to campus, the Office of Sustainability is encouraging students, faculty and staff to look into alternative modes of transportation. The college offers a carpool matching program called Zimride, as well as subsidized ORCA bus passes, ample campus bicycle racks, and one-on-one transportation assistance to those seeking additional help.

BC has also adopted a series of campus sustainability measures. Some of these initiatives include:

  • the installation of several electric vehicle charging stations, including a DC fast charger, one of the first on a U.S. college campus;
  • projects to upgrade campus lighting, water, and HVAC systems to substantially reduce energy consumption, incorporating geothermal heating and solar power;
  • the integration of sustainability throughout the instructional curriculum combined with a student-created sustainability fund.

The Office of Sustainability also works to ensure new buildings on campus use LEED® building standards (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design). BC’s new Student Housing facility is a LEED® candidate project for Platinum certification, and the Student Success Center is a LEED® candidate project for Silver certification.

Related Article

Growing Sustainability Leadership at BC

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Last Updated September 30, 2019