"Invest in Our Futures, Not Our Fossil Fuels" With Jenna Robinson

I sat in on a Marist Faculty meeting where a professor brought up the importance of green energy, sustainability, and divesting. It’s a valid concern that many colleges are currently addressing. Another professor stood and rebuked his statement, saying the environment is not a pressing issue for our generation, let the next generation take care of it

He might as well have said, "I hope you all die."

WE, the children of generation Z and the millennials are that next generation. Thankfully, some people are taking a stand. Jenna Robinson is one of the brilliant minds behind the divestment movement at Marist College. She is in her junior year, double majoring in environmental science and biology. The environment and preserving nature are topics close to her heart, and something she is actively fighting for.

For those who don’t know about divestment, it is simply the process of taking investments out of fossil fuels and focusing instead on green energy such as geothermal heating, solar panels, wind power, etc. Green energy is a pressing topic right now because, yes, it will be a HUGE issue in the future, but by then, it’ll be too late. We need to start taking responsibilities for our actions now and take care of this planet, for we only get one shot. Marists Divests has been partnering with Vassar and other local colleges in strengthening the support behind the movement. The students at Marist have been a great help in signing petitions and showing interest, but I fear they don’t really know what they’re supporting or why they’re supporting it.

My amazing roommate has gone above and beyond to shout the importance of divestment to the Marist community. Recently she coordinated an entire campaign that blew up on social media. It was a huge collection of Marist students standing with their serious faces on, and holding a sign with the Marist mission statement on it.

Our mission statement says:

“Marist is dedicated to helping students develop the intellect, character and skills required for enlightened, ethical and productive lives in the global community of the 21st century.”

This is not an attack on Marist’s Board of Trustees, but a genius and genuine way to state what the students are passionate about in an attempt to get them to see the importance of divestment too. Jenna also put together a frisbee event to spread awareness in an innovative and fun way. The amazing thing about Jenna is her kind-hearted passion and creative approach to solving problems. A frisbee event?! Who has ever thought of that before? But who would be opposed to playing frisbee regardless of how bad they may think they are (I guarantee I’m worse). Jenna is very dedicated to her field and her cause. She acknowledges that there is a time and place to protest; but if someone asks about divestment, she’ll have a flyer and presentation prepared. She is not yelling in anyone’s face, and you won’t see her parading around campus as a crazy protester carrying a sign. She is composed and genuine in her approach, and people respect her for it. The faculty and staff of the science department all support her in her efforts and would back her up in a heartbeat... and so would I.

So who is Jenna Robinson? She is a student-athlete, a #fossilfreefox, a genuine leader, and she is my best friend. I am amazingly blessed to know her and be a part of this great movement she leads, and I will support and play my role to the best of my ability. She inspires me and so many others to stand up for what they care about, and to fight when no one else will.  

“We have the choice to use the gift of our life to make the world a better place -- or not to bother” - Jane Goodall.