The crowd of mostly Miami students, which was joined by dozens of older protesters, were part of a worldwide event Global Climate Strike on Friday that drew massive crowds in some countries.
But Miami officials tried to explain that Miami has already begun to explore signing the PCLC. Some of the student leaders were invited inside Marcum to meet with Crawford after the trustees meeting.
Crawford said that the school in recent years has launched a series of carbon-reducing reforms and infrastructure changes designed to reduce the school’s environmental impact.
Crawford told the Journal-News he applauded the students’ activist passion for energy sustainability while lessening America’s reliance on fossil-based fuels.
“That’s the Miami student,” Crawford said. “The Miami student gets out there and starts now while they are here at school and doesn’t wait until they graduate. We admire all that they do.”
Members of the Oxford community and Miami University students took part in a global climate change strike on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019.
Crawford said Miami created a sustainability committee in January to prepare a new sustainability plan.
One of the 10 objectives of the committee was to consider whether Miami should sign the PCLC agreement, he said.
When asked if Friday’s student protests would prompt the school to sign the environmental agreement, Crawford said no.
“But it’s great to hear from the students because we are committed to our sustainability efforts in a big way. And we’re so glad all the campus is very passionate about this as we are … as the board of trustees is to be committed to our efforts and continue the pathway forward,” he said.
The Miami sustainability committee is scheduled to release a final report about signing the PCLC agreement by Jan. 1, 2020.
Miami sophomore Lauren Doepke, one of the leaders of the protest, said after meeting with Crawford that she and other students were frustrated about not knowing of Miami’s existing sustainability programs and plans for more.
“We got some answers. They (school officials) are trying to find out if the PCLC (agreement) is a good fit for Miami. Either way, Miami is going to be striving toward carbon neutrality,” Doepke told the remaining two dozen protesters who waited outside the Marcum Center to hear a summation of Crawford’s meeting with student leaders.
“I think, based on what they (school officials) said, by the end of this school year could really have something and be officially striving toward carbon neutrality.”
University police reported no incidents and school officials said there was no disruption of classes for the more than 19,000 students on the Oxford campus.
But some protesters were adamant during the march about the PCLC agreement being the best option for Miami’s.
“We’re trying to make the university administration more aware of climate change and that students here are passionate about making a difference and creating a greener community here at Miami,” said Miami senior Mitchell Singstock. “There are an incredible amount of people here and I think the university will have to notice.”