By Contributing Writers Andrea Bickford, Sierra Howie, and James Kennedy.
Dear Chancellor Johnson: Our names are, Andrea Bickford, a Biology major and Sustainability minor, Sierra Howie, A Nursing major, and James Kennedy, a Small Business major.
We, and our peers in Principles of Sustainability who voted to endorse this letter, are some of the many students here at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth working tirelessly to secure a future for ourselves to thrive in.
At UMass Dartmouth, our campus community fosters a deep respect for higher education and the service that our campus provides to the local and global communities.
We are problem solvers, innovative thinkers, technological pioneers, and creative experts. We not only shape our individual futures, but we also shape the futures of our local and global communities.
Recent news in climate change and sustainability topics revealed a previously unrealized concern about the security of our future. The concern is that our global community is more rapidly approaching an end to a habitable and resourceful future than had previously been thought.
As you are no doubt aware, in early October the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a global report with devastating projections; We (the global community) need to take unprecedented action against climate change within the next ten years, or we will all suffer unprecedented consequences.
That is not the future that is consistent with UMass Dartmouth’s mission and vision statements.
Both the mission and vision statements discuss dedication and commitment to student success. However, we cannot succeed in a future that doesn’t give us the opportunity to do so.
Our university cannot truly pledge itself to student success without also acting to reverse the impact climate change will have on it. There are approximately 20 million students attending one of 5,300 universities or colleges in the United States; roughly 6% of the U.S. population.
There are tens of millions of students, including us, who are investing our time and money into our hopes and dreams to become successful professionals and to lead good lives. That future, that world, is now failing us. And so we want to know what our university is doing to safeguard our future success throughout this climate change crisis.
What public action will be taken to support UMass Dartmouth’s commitment to student success considering the IPCC’s dire warnings? What public action will be taken by this university and all other universities within the UMass system to fight for and defend their students’ futures?
Supporting advances in climate change is to support student success. Will you commit to actively improve student success and a more sustainable future?
We are one campus of 8,500 students but combined with the other UMass campuses we are 75,000 strong. We believe that being the problem solvers, innovative thinkers, technological pioneers, and creative experts that we are, we can reshape our part of the future.
“At UMass Dartmouth, we are the masters of our fate and the captains of our souls. We will not wait and see what is in store for our future. We will seize this moment and invent our future.” Those are your words. Now, we cannot invent our future without your leadership. We are asking you to call on all the UMass system’s Chancellors, President Marty Meehan, and Governor Charlie Baker to unite behind our universities’ students, and perhaps all the college and university students around the country, even around the world, to redefine our futures and develop sustainable solutions.
Please tell us if, and how, you will proceed with our request. Thank you for your time.