he students gathered for the Rally for Change on campus Wednesday had many messages and one goal — they want to be heard.
About 50 Bowling Green State university students, representing a variety of interest groups, gathered in 20-degree weather to hear speeches, chant and deliver a message to President Mary Ellen Mazey.
After listening to speakers representing the constituent groups, the students marched from the union area to McFall in hopes of speaking with Mazey face to face. Trudging up to the second floor, they were met at the door by a security official who said only one of them, amended to two, could come in and they couldn’t bring anything with them, not the banner, not even purses.
Kaitlyn Trent, one of the students who was admitted to Mazey’s office, said they were told she was “out.,” though Trent said she heard what she believed to be Mazey laughing in another room. “She has a very distinctive laugh.”
David Kielmeyer, university spokesman, said the president was in meetings and not available, though she has met with the group three times in the past year.
“We largely agree with their goals, and we appreciate their passion and enthusiasm,” but Kielmeyer added, “we cannot agree “to some arbitrary deadline.”
He said the university is taking action, including investigating the use of geothermal energy and reducing its electricity use.
The rally was brought together by the Environmental Action Group and their call for the university to convert to using 100-percent clean and renewable energy.
During the speeches that preceded the visit to Mazey’s office, Jessica Echales, who served as the coordinator of Wednesday’s action, said the importance of eliminating the use of fossil fuels was made clear to her when she worked in a day care in Chicago and she saw so many of the children suffering from asthma.
She reminded those present that Mazey had signed a pledge, the American College and University Presidents’ climate commitment, along with more than 600 other college presidents to reduce global emissions that contribute to global warming.
Echales said that both Ohio State University and Ball State University have taken major steps to use renewable energy and its both lowered their carbon footprint and saved them money.
Kielmeyer said that the university was meeting all the commitments it made as part of the pledge.