Although it’s still another week until Halloween, students donned their best Obama and McCain get-ups outside Commons on Wednesday.
With the presidential election fast approaching, the Yale Student Environmental Coalition is in the midst of a five-day program to raise awareness about candidates’ environmental platforms. At a table outside Commons Dining Hall, YSEC members dressed as Obama and McCain to engage students and attract attention to informative posters. Two students wearing Obama and McCain rubber masks and street clothes manned the table.
Although few passersby stopped during the lunch rush, most Yale students interviewed agreed that the environment is a key issue in the Presidential election. A study released this week by researchers at Yale and George Mason universities showed this sentiment is part of a larger trend: Two-thirds of registered voters rank global warming as “one of several” important issues that will influence their vote this November.
A masked “McCain” Matt Ramlow ’11 explained that the project is an effort by the Green Team, a branch of YSEC focused on campus issues, to raise student awareness about the presidential candidates’ “green” policies. He said the environment is the most important issue in this election.
“The environment has a huge impact on the future of our country,” Ramlow said. “We are at a critical point in our nation’s history and changes need to be made.”
Emmy Pickett ’12, a member of YSEC and an environmental studies major, said she agrees that the environment is a key issue in this election.
“The [green movement] isn’t just about the environment,” she explained. “It’s also about ethics, human rights, and not harming other people”
The program highlights candidates’ platforms, but Charles Zhu ’11, co-chair of YSEC, emphasized that, as a nonprofit, the organization is not allowed to endorse any one candidate.
Even though their display was bipartisan, YSEC said they hoped the event will motivate students politically.
Ariel Patashnik ’11, co-chair of YSEC, said the idea behind the display was to inspire students to lobby their respective candidates.
Of the handful of students who stopped by, all said the environment was a key issue in this year’s elections. Most pointed out rising gas prices as a primary concern.
Remarked Sam Helfaer ’12: “There’s no second chances with the environment.”
The YSEC will set up their table again from 11:30 am to 2 pm today and Friday.