In an effort to motivate students to take action against climate change, Know Tomorrow, a student-led movement spanning 60 college campuses nationwide, held an activity fair and a series of speakers featuring Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in McCarthy Quad on Friday.
In partnership with the Undergraduate Student Government Program Board, the Environmental Student Assembly, the Speakers Committee and the Academic Culture Assembly, Know Tomorrow’s event aimed to educate students about community-wide environmental initiatives.
Students spent the day learning about the environment from different groups on campus, and participated in activities intended to teach participants about sustainability in an engaging manner.
Among these activities were a “Change the Course Challenge,” which showed students the importance of facilitating the Earth’s recovery; a solar-powered popcorn machine sponsored by the California Public Interest Research Group and Environmental Core; Elementerra, a virtual reality video game; and a SolarCity Exhibit featuring solar power ovens, microwaves and air conditioning units.
“[This event] has changed my perspective because it showed me that there are a lot of new, cool inventions and ways to make people aware of this [issue],” said Carrisa Chang, a freshman majoring in business administration.
The event also featured professor of earth sciences Will Berelson, youth director of Earth Guardians Xiuhtezcahtl Martinez, founder of Tree People Andy Lipkis, NASA climate scientist Veronica Nieves, YouTuber Derek Muller and environmental lawyer Robert F. Kennedy Jr.
“I really appreciated the number of viewpoints we had and the way [the speakers] interacted,” said Environmental Core member Zach Manta. “One of my favorite parts was watching the interactions.”
Manta was among a group of students initially contacted last spring by Dornsife School of Letters, Arts and Sciences and Vice Dean Steven Lamy about the Know Tomorrow movement. The national event was launched by Wendy Abrams, founder of Cool Globes, who donated money to USC to help fund a climate science campaign.
“We originally tried to make this an event that was just a simple shout through many voices, saying ‘Hey, let’s do something about [the state of the environment],’” Manta said. “But it turned into a critical discussion [involving] a lot of people who are already really concerned about the problem.”
This event was directed at continuing this discussion on sustainability throughout the University.
“I think the fact that USC is trying to change something is really great, but at the same time, I recognize the fact that there is much to be changed,” said Abhishek Sharma, a freshman majoring in biological sciences. “For example, [there are] very small amounts of renewable energy used here on campus, and there’s also lots of issues with [a lack of] recycling bins.”
Program Board marketing director Chelsea Zhang, who helped coordinate the event, said she hopes students will be more inspired to take action.
“I hope students can see how many other people are here to support [this event],” Zhang said. “Our events are fun, and there [are] a lot of cool organizations out here that are supporting this cause. It shouldn’t be a burden to be more eco-friendly.”
Manta added that although he has studied the environment extensively through his major and Environmental Core, he was still able to broaden his knowledge on the subject.
“I didn’t expect myself to be so opened up to the world of possibilities and the complexity of the problem and what we can do about it,” Manta said.
Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly referred to ESA as the Environmental Student Association. It is the Environmental Student Assembly. The Daily Trojan regrets the error.