Students Join Thousands in March for Science
Issue   |   Wed, 04/26/2017 - 00:07
Photo courtesy of Mashiyat Zaman ‘18
A group of 35 students traveled to Washington D.C. to participate in the March for Science demonstration on Saturday, April 22.

The Amherst College Democrats organized a trip for 35 students to travel to Washington D.C. and participate in the March for Science demonstration on Saturday, April 22, which was also Earth Day.

The March for Science protests were organized to demonstrate support for science by a “diverse, nonpartisan group,” according to the movement’s official website.

Tens of thousands of people in over 500 cities, according to The New York Times, participated in the march, which was “an opportunity for people to come and reaffirm their belief that we must maintain scientific integrity and that the current administration cannot continue to make certain decisions that are antifact,” said Ian Miller ’19, the treasurer of the Amherst College Democrats.

Miller said that the trip was organized by the Amherst College Democrats to “bring together a bunch of people who believed in maintaining scientific integrity.”

“We’ve had some issues with this current [presidential] administration with regard to making sure that we’re respecting scientific facts and making sure that scientific research is being funded and well respected,” he said. “[It]was an opportunity for people who believe in those things … to come together and show our support.”

The protests took place a month after President Donald Trump signed an executive order to curb the federal government’s enforcement of climate regulations in order to focus on job creation, according to CNN.

“One of the biggest issues [of] the march … was about climate change,” Miller said. “This current administration has multiple people who are climate change deniers ... we’re stripping the EPA of funding ... this was an opportunity to show that we are not going to stand up for that.”

According to Miller and The New York Times, thousands of people attended the march at the National Mall. The walk began at the Washington monument and ended at Capitol Hill.

“There were a bunch of different signs. Some were funny, some were scientific,” Miller said, describing the scene. “There were a bunch of different chants and occasionally a yell. Hearing 40,000 people yell is pretty impressive.”

Kelly Missett ’19 said that she enjoyed the experience. “It was all of the nerds of America gathered together just having fun and celebrating their geekiness together,” she said.

Missett chose to go to the march due to her support for evidence-based climate policy. “I find it very alarming that this administration and people who’ve been hired to fill important roles in the EPA, Department of the Interior and other agencies have a lack of faith in scientific evidence, especially when it concerns climate change,” she said.

“I don’t see these just as environmental issues but also human rights issues,” Missett added.

For Missett, the biggest takeaway was learning that certain areas of scientific research seem trivial and do not receive adequate funding but can lead to critical discoveries.

“What people often fail to realize is that most of the important medical breakthroughs and other critical products of science come from things you would’ve never expected to produce them,” she said. ”You can’t just take away grants for science that you think [are] superfluous, because you never know what it is going to lead to.”