As climate change rises to the political foreground, a push from Creighton students and the Creighton Student Union has emerged with a focus on sustainability.
A local Omaha climate strike was held Sept. 20 at the Douglas County Courthouse, bringing together activists from all ages.
Members of the student body attended this event to let their voices be heard.
College of Arts and Sciences sophomore Aidan Swanson attended and spoke at this rally.
Swanson was asked to speak by Cate Kelly, a senior at Mercy High School, who was looking for a passionate Creighton student.
“Speaking in the strike was quite a cool experience being able to see the different generations of climate activists and their collective enthusiasm towards making the world a better place for future generations,” Swanson said.
The Creighton Climate Movement tallies over 400 student members.
Discussions of policy, sustainability and campus initiatives are the group’s main focus.
“Creighton’s Jesuit mission and subsequently a commitment to the environment is integral,” said Swanson in regard to the mission of the movement.
Advancing away from fossil fuels have been highlighted at the strike as well as within Creighton’s campus.
The “Silence for the Climate” rally occurred last April, calling to action the need for improved sustainability efforts campus-wide.
This assembly from students to “advocate for a change in university policy,” called attention to CSU and school leaders, according to CUInvolved.
A referendum was proposed to the CSU cabinet regarding divestment from fossil fuels.
College of Arts and Sciences senior Michael Galeski is one of the authors of the referendum.
“We are not asking for immediate divestment, but over a gradual period of time” said Galeski. “The push from Creighton students in regard to climate change reflects a larger national and global movement."
After being voted on and rejected by the CSU Cabinet on Sept. 17, the referendum went on to be revised.
CSU president Donna Shahbazi said, “On Sept. 17, the CSU cabinet failed the referendum on the basis that the following edits will be made, including counterarguments and rebuttals, removing emotional language and adding more academic language, more financial data, ensuring all sources are credible, providing an abstract at the beginning of the referendum, definitions, as well as a disclaimer as to why we do or don’t have specific financial information in the referendum.”
Members of the cabinet have approved a revised version of the document, and CSU Board of Representatives will vote on Sept. 30.
Initially, “students came to CSU on our first day of our term, with the ask for support of divestment, or at least guidance in the right direction,” said Shahbazi.
This divestment referendum requests to “freeze any new investment in fossil fuel companies,” “divest” from the top 200 highest carbon emitting fossil fuel companies, consistently analyze and evaluate the returns, and to “be fully divested” by the date in which the University has reached full operational carbon neutrality, according to Shahbazi.
If it is passed by the Board of Representatives, the executive team and president would vote on it before it reaches the entirety of the student body.
Shahbazi encouraged students to stay engaged.
“If the referendum passes through all legislative bodies of Creighton Students Union, the student body will have the right to exercise their right to vote – stay tuned for more information. Follow @csu1922 on social media to stay in the loop regarding Referendum #19-02.”