Divest Harvard Rally: Student Voice Shows Its Power

Today, around 200 Harvard community members–students, faculty, staff, alumni, and other Harvard affiliates–rallied for fossil fuel divestment.

The excitement started when a huge contingent of Harvard Law School students came marching into Harvard Yard yelling “DIVEST!” (See below.)

IMG_3184We heard from student speakers: my friend, Hannah Borowsky, gave an incredible and inspiring introduction speech, explaining why we need to divest and the power that we have as students. The excitement was palpable.

IMG_3186See all the people!

IMG_3190Then a Harvard alum and local reverend, Fred Small, spoke.

IMG_3191Then the President of the Undergraduate Council (aka student body president), Tara Raghuveer, spoke about student voice and how the divestment movement has been received on campus.

IMG_3192We heard from Professor David Keith (a professor of applied physics) on why we need a social movement to mitigate global warming.

IMG_3193Then everyone rallied together and chanted as another Divest Harvard member, Krishna Dasaratha, and I delivered ~1300 signatures. At first, we were told that we would not be able to enter Massachusetts Hall (where the President’s and VP’s office are). Then we found out that two members could go in. So we did.

When we got inside we requested to see a VP to deliver the signatures. Marc Goodheart came out. We asked him to come outside so that we could deliver the petitions publicly. He said that he would only accept them inside. We declined and went to walk outside, and he then said that we would accept them standing on the steps right outside Massachusetts Hall. We agreed.

Moral of the story: the administration listened to student voice today. Our power was displayed with beautiful force and inspiration. We are a generation of hope and optimism, and we believe that we can change our world for the better. Harvard listened to OUR message today.

After we delivered the petitions, 200 people marched, chanting for divestment.

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IMG_3197 IMG_3199

IMG_3201ABOVE: You can see Divest Harvard’s very own Ben Franta as he closes out the rally. Behind him is the door to Mass. Hall…where the university police were on close guard.

AND BELOW: As I blogged about on Tuesday, a member of the Harvard Corporation suggested that we “thank BP” for all of their work in developing renewable energy. We turned this into a satire, wrote them a “thank you” card, and had people sign!

IMG_3202 IMG_3203This was one of the most powerful experiences of my life. I burst into tears after I handed our petition signatures to the VP because Harvard listened to our voices. And then we had 200 people march around Mass Hall. 200! When we started this campaign, there were three people in our group. Now we just had one of the most momentous rallies in recent Harvard history.

Change the world.

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