On Wednesday, February 16, 2005, the world declared war on global warming by adopting the Kyoto Protocol, without US support. In Worcester, Clark University students hit the polls for its Spring Student Council Election and sent a clear message to the administration: it’s time for Clark to walk the walk on global warming.
Students voted overwhelmingly in support of two referenda that will give the administration the chance to make Clark's "eco-friendly" public image more of a reality.
The referenda were placed on the ballot by the Clark Sustainability Initiative (CSI), an active group of Clarkies. "Given Clark's socially progressive and globally conscious image," said co-organizer Zo Tobi '07, "it's unacceptable for us to teach about global warming while continuing to worsen it."
The first ballot question asked students if they would pay $3 per semester to go to a Clean Energy Projects Trust, which will help the administration purchase energy from renewable sources such as solar and wind power. The second asked if the administration should join the Massachusetts Renewable Energy Purchasers program, and also establish a study committee to explore all the options for clean energy purchasing, responsible for reporting back to the Board of Trustees by the end of the 2004/2005 academic year.
To get the $3 per semester addition implemented, Student Council must now bring the results of the vote to the Board of Trustees. To establish the mandated study committee, CSI is beginning to talk to the administration.
As the world moves forward without the US on global warming, there is increasing pressure on schools such as Clark. "The clock is ticking on Clark's reputation," said Tobi. "It's time to see if President Bassett, Provost Angel, and Vice President Collins are ready to do the right thing."
In lieu of the vote, expectations on the Clark administration are high. "The vote is an important step forward," said CSI co-organizer Laura Merner '08. "I'm glad my university is starting to join the [global] initiative."