Science March

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On Saturday, April 22, the city of Albany participated in the March for Science as one of the many sites that took place across the country. Similar to the Women’s March on Washington, the March for Science was in response to the Trump administration cutting funding from major scientific organizations, particularly ones specializing in climate change and the environment. Taking place on Earth Day, the rally brought local citizens and scientists together, representing a variety of ages, backgrounds and disciplines. Events began in the afternoon as Albany’s Capitol Building was surrounded by tables from different organizations. These tables gave marchers a chance to sign petitions and observe demonstrations given by scientists hailing from an array of fields. Local schools hosted tables to display current research as well as host activities, including Union’s own Biology Club. A major component of the event was the scientist meet and greet. Scientists from all over the capital region attended, donning nametags introducing themselves and their specific line of work. The objective was to encourage conversation between scientists and the public and give citizens the opportunity to see all of the directions people can take in STEM. Different areas of study included biochemistry, urban forestry, math, statistics, neuroscience, public health and many more. This sparked many discussions, many of them being between the scientists and young children. When asked what she thought about all of the scientists from different disciplines being at the march, Shannon West ’19 answered, “It’s really great because it really helps all the kids attending today see all the paths science can take you. It’s a great way to inspire the next generation of scientists.” Union College students agreed that this was one of their favorite aspects of the march as it gave them the opportunity to learn about many different disciplines and meet scientists working in the fields they were studying in school. “It’s important for the public to be able to put a face to science.”, says Union College Chemistry professor Mary Carroll. “Here, people are able to see that they know scientists and that’s very important.” Prior to marching, scientists and politicians from Albany and the Capital Region spoke to the crowd. City of Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan, Assemblymembers Patricia Fahy and John McDonald, and Congressman Paul Tonko were among the speakers for the march, all advocating for the protection of the environment and the continuation of science as one of America’s top priorities. “Science keeps our water clean, our citizens healthy,” Mayor Sheehan told the crowd, “We need to realize that we as a community are better because of science.” During another declaration to the marchers, Congressman Tonko urged, “We need to reduce carbon pollution in our society. We need to address climate change. We need to find a cure for cancer. We need to understand that, from A to Z, from Alzheimer’s to Zika virus, it is research that will further our scientific integrity.” Union students agreed that the March for Science made them want to get involved more on campus. “Science is being overlooked in our country right now and we as a school should get involved in these issues.” Shannon West answered in when asked what made her want to come to the march. West believes the next steps to take to initiate action in the fight for science is to increase awareness and involvement on campus. After attending the march, Union students are hoping to get involved more with the environmental clubs on campus, particularly USustain and Beekeeping Club. Overall, students say that they’re looking forward to seeing how Union will assess the issue of climate change as a community.

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