This Friday, May 6, students of UTS will take to the streets to demand stronger climate action from the Australian government.
The march begins at UTS Tower and will culminate at Sydney Town Hall. Students will be marching in collaboration with a slew of other university collectives, the National Union of Students, and renowned climate action group School Strike 4 Climate.
The primary aim of the strike, as iterated on the official Facebook page, is to call out major political parties for accepting large donations and continuing to give handouts to the fossil fuel industry.
UTS Enviro Officer, Bailey Riley, says the messages being delivered by the campaign are relevant to more than just the nation’s politicians. According to Riley says that UTS itself could benefit from throwing its weight behind the climate movement.
“It doesn’t have to support a party, just support the fight for renewable energy,” she says.
“[UTS executives] do support in minor ways, but definitely not enough. They still fund fossil fuel groups, and they haven’t endorsed the upcoming strike.”
The lack of university endorsement means that students who choose to strike instead of attending workshops or tutorials on Friday will be marked as absent without an explanation.
However, for students who have so far been deprived of the student-activist lifestyle, Friday’s march provides a long-awaited opportunity to put political passion into words.
“Recently, due to Covid, there hasn’t been enough change. With the way student unions have had their funding cut, the voice of students has been gradually forced down,” says Riley.
“But strikes are an amazing chance to be part of a larger movement. Even if you might not achieve change straight away, you can still say ‘I went there, I yelled, I marched, I lived my values.’ That’s what we should all do as people, and if you believe in a strong climate movement, you need to be a part of one.”
According to data released by the Australian Electoral Commission and collated by the Australian Conservation Foundation, the two major parties accepted a combined $1.3 million in political donations from the fossil fuel industry throughout the 2019-20 financial year.