Community members offer admin. feedback on Brandeis climate initiatives

February 28, 2020

Community members gathered to discuss climate change and Brandeis’ role in a forum hosted by the President’s Task Force on Campus Sustainability on Monday in the International Lounge. 

The discussion focused on the questions: “What should be Brandeis’ role and responsibility in the face of the climate crisis?” “What is within Brandeis’ power to do to act on climate change?” and “What recommendations would you make to the president and the administration about climate change and climate justice?” according to Mary Fischer, manager of sustainability programs.

“This is about all of us having a conversation together,” said Fischer. 

“The campus is becoming much more aware of our relationship to major weapon manufacturers like Raytheon in Waltham, especially to our computer science department, and as that information is uncovered by students, more and more people are going to be upset because the U.S. military is one of the leading contributors to climate change and it’s completely unethical that we would support those kinds of businesses at an institution attempting to label itself as pro-social justice,” said a student in the audience.

Other requests made by students included moving towards renewable energy rather than natural gas, consuming less unsustainable foods like beef and making an effort to go carbon neutral.  

The event also had a banner in the back of the room on which community members could write suggestions for the task force, according to Fischer.

The Sustainability Task Force, which the president announced on Dec. 2, is co-chaired by Mary Fischer, Professor of German, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Sabine von Mering and Brandeis Senate Sustainability Committee Chair Oliver Price ’20. The task force’s duties include updating Brandeis’ 2016 Climate Action Plan, addressing climate resilience and recommending additional campus sustainability initiatives and “best practices,” according to the group’s website.
The four working groups that make recommendations to the task force include a working group on campus operations, a working group on community engagement, a working group on incorporating climate change in the classroom and a working group on climate resilience. The Task Force should complete its work by the end of this academic year, according to the task force’s website.

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