College Students Organize Plattsburgh’s March For Science

Apr 21, 2017

Students at Clinton Community College are organizing a March for Science this weekend, one of thousands occurring Saturday across the nation.

The first international March for Science is being held on Saturday.  Coordinated by the Earth Day Network, the website explains that the march is “…. not only about scientists and politicians; it is about the very real role that science plays in each of our lives and the need to respect and encourage research that gives us insight into the world.”  A flagship march is in Washington D.C.  with at least 480 satellite marches scheduled for the U.S. including 18 across New York, four in Vermont and seven in Massachussetts.

The Student Senate and the Science, Psychology, and Honors clubs at Clinton Community College is coordinating the march in Plattsburgh.  Professor of Psychology June Foley:  "We will march from Trinity Park in Plattsburgh down Cornelia around by Plattsburgh State and the hospital and then out to the Oval on the base to join the Earth Day celebrations there by noon. It’s two and a half miles.”

Foley finds her students are very concerned about Trump administration policies toward science and that is driving their enthusiasm for the March for Science.  “This is the largest group of students I’ve ever seen turned out to work on a project like this, helping us to get organized, get on Facebook, Instagram, recruited their fellow students, their friends, their family. They’re very concerned. Particularly I think they are concerned about the impact this will have on the climate. We deny science, particularly climate science, we’re denying climate reality. And that’s very troubling to them.”

Earlier this week students were making wristbands, buttons, posters and signs for the march.  Mechanical Engineering student Mason Martin was standing at a table making March for Science buttons. He says Trump administration policies are stirring global concerns.   “I feel that it’s definitely anti-science. You know there’s been a bunch of budget cuts and a lot of funding that has just been ceased. I mean it kind of concerns everybody in the world, I mean because it’s, you know, a global thing. It doesn’t just impact the U.S. it impacts all of us. And at the end of the march there’s actually going to be at the Oval like a bunch of booths and a bunch of information so that people can arm theirselves with knowledge.”

Next to the students making buttons was a group crafting armbands.  First year math-science student John Remillard explains that each bracelet is meant to illustrate the importance of science at its basic level.   “There’s 118 braids for all the elements on the Periodic Table. And the center has an element off the Periodic Table to represent science. And there’s four knots for the four forces of nature.  Just to resemble science and something neat to give out for the kids and adults at the Oval after the march.”

Remillard recalls that his first science class, chemistry, made an impression on how he views the world.  He became concerned when NASA and other scientific government websites were altered during the beginning of the Trump administration.   “Without science we really can’t function.  You know it’s what has allowed us to evolve over the years and it’s extremely important. You know if we don’t look at other ways of renewable energy or other ways to combat the global warming issues that are taking place that everyone thinks it’s just, you know, nature taking its course or overpopulation.  But everything’s all combined and intertwined which makes it something to focus on.”
 

There are two satellite marches in New Hampshire and four in Connecticut.