Both Amstadt and Hughes said they considered the event a success at achieving awareness, but Amstadt said getting a coordinator would be a more long-term process.
“It will only be announced if they decide to get a sustainability coordinator position, which could be written into the budget in spring. If they do not they will not announce it they will simply ignore the fact, that is why we have to hold the university accountable.”
– Karli Amstadt
She said that while the event started a conversation she is focused on results, and the result they want is the creation of a permanent sustainability coordinator.
“I am very pleased with how the protest went, in fact it couldn’t have gone much better, but I do not think we should start celebrating victories we haven’t achieved yet,” Amstadt said in an email.
Hughes said the sooner the position was written into the budget the better, but she didn’t know when that would be.
She said the protest still had the impact they wanted it to, showing that students consider sustainability a priority.
“The Board members were wonderfully impressed and told us how supportive they were of our efforts. I don’t think that the Board of Trustees knew how much sustainability meant to the students of this school until now.”
– Ellen Hughes
Amstadt and Hughes also said that the event attracted increased numbers of student support. During the stand of solidarity, several students who were holding up signs had not been active in the events beforehand.
Freshman Reizo Prakash was one of those who joined in for the stand.
“I was returning to my dorm, eating dinner on the way when I saw the event,” he said in an email.
Prakash added that he decided to join because the university needs a coordinator to spread awareness and be a resource for information and management; he joined the campers after the stand of solidarity and slept there both nights.
Hughes said she was “totally swept away” by the amount of student involvement in the event.
“It was awesome because we actually recruited a few students who didn’t know about the sustainability coordinator before Tent City,” she said.
She said the tents were “a great visual message” because they got the attention of students walking by on the JAYwalk.
“Many students were unaware of how much money the position saves the school, what an asset he was for student’s academic pursuits, and the fact that an overwhelming number of GLCA schools have this position. I would say it was extremely well received.”
– Karli Amstadt
Hughes said that she thought it would be better to work with the administration now that the event had raised awareness of the issue and the level of student support.
“They were fairly accommodating throughout the Tent City planning process and I think that they are feeling more pressure to improve our school’s sustainability efforts,” she said. “That said, if no progress is made whatsoever for this issue, I’m sure more direct action will be taken.”
Amstadt, however, was more insistent on keeping the possibility of direct action open. “(T)his is our university and as students we should have a voice,” she said in an email. “If we continue to be ignored then we have no choice but to take direct action. As soon as we take pressure off the university, the issue will fall into oblivion.”
She said they were still determining action moving forward.
“I can guarantee that you have not seen the last of us,” she said. “We won’t stop until we have a full time permanent sustainability coordinator and we will not settle for anything less.”
Hughes said that she, Amstadt and Kazi were heading up the protest but weren’t the only ones who wanted it to happen, and so Amstadt and Kazi’s graduation at the end of the academic year would not diminish efforts for “a greener and more sustainable school.”
“I’ll just say that we have plans to continue this if it doesn’t work, but again, I’m optimistic that it will,” she said.