Eco Reps prepare for activism

Club work to include US Community

Anika Desai, Contributing Writer

Within the context of the current political and environmental climate, the school’s eco-activists are slowing down to immerse themselves in global issues before working to create projects that will positively impact the community.

Eco Reps Faculty Advisor Ariel Duddy said environmental justice and environmental racism are two overarching themes the club will investigate this year.

“We are in a unique cultural moment, especially in America, where it’s really clear that climate is very much tied to poverty and a lot of social justice issues,” Ms. Duddy said. “So we are thinking of ways to both learn about environmental racism and bring that knowledge back to campus.”

The Eco Reps have several plans to achieve this, beginning with fostering a better learning environment within the club by spending the fall educating themselves on issues they are passionate about, such as the relationship between climate change and immigration.

“With this different format, people can decide what they want to learn more about. They can do some research, maybe find a cool article, and bring that information back to the group, so we can all be learning more about the environment,” she added.

Then, later in the year, club members will apply their research to projects based on their specific interests.

“Come springtime, people will have the knowledge and understanding to design a project that is effective and interesting to them,” Eco Reps Co-President Priya Devavaram ’21 said.

The Eco Reps also plan to host speakers working in environmentalism. At first, the speakers will be school community members involved in environmental organizations. As the year progresses, the club hopes to bring in other influential speakers, such as politicians, who may be outside the school network.

“Everybody loves to hear someone talk about a topic they are passionate and knowledgeable about. I believe that is so engaging for people,” Priya said.

In addition to involving professionals, the club hopes to be more inclusive of the greater school community and boost involvement in green efforts. They will be leading Eco-Bash style workshops for students to join on Wednesdays.

“We’re going to try to encourage current Eco Reps to take leadership positions in projects, but we are going to open the club up to the student body so that people who are interested
can get involved,” Eco Reps Co-President Clio Quilter-Vagts said, adding that her particular interest is in pressing the school to divest from fossil fuels.

Eco Reps member Eli Jensen ’21 said integrating the community into the club’s work is important.

“Previously, Eco Reps had held this mysteriousness, where only if you got in could you lift the veil, but this isn’t the Secret Service. We want to fight climate change, not overthrow
foreign governments,” he said. “Climate justice shouldn’t [exclude] anyone. The environment is in a dire position right now, and we really need to do something about it.”