By: Katherine Snyder
NIAGARA UNIVERSITY, N.Y. – Recently, the Earth House on campus – Varsity Village house three – went a little outside of the box with a controversial and bold statement. A resident of the house, Judith Hall, read the sexual assault article that myself, Katherine Snyder, had written for Issue 17 of the Niagara Wire. She reacted to the article by writing on the house’s roof “STOP SEXISM” in white chalk. Being such an out-of-the-box statement, students were drawn to the spectacle.
“We did this basically on the lines of those who react negatively to sexual assault and don’t see it as a problem and generally don’t know how to respond,” Hall said. “The school says they care, but you really question things when they don’t address it. It seems like you never actually hear about sexual assault here. We know it’s not good, but it needs to be discussed. There’s a huge lack – to us in the earth house – on the school taking any accountability for things like this.”
Hall is hoping that change can be made in this regard, and they will continue to try to promote change not only on sexual assault but their mission as a whole, which is to improve campus life as a whole for students and faculty through eco-friendly practices.
So far this semester, the Earth House has accomplished many of their goals for the semester, which included working with Buffalo River Keeper, where they cleaned up trash along Gill Creek and also planted a tree. They also held a screening on campus called “Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret,” which follows the journey of an environmentalist as he searches for answers to some of America’s worst environmental issues and to find a path to better sustainability. They also are trying to kickstart a new club on campus called “Food not bombs” which would help provide free vegan and vegetarian meals to those in poverty across Niagara Falls.
“Specifically we’re trying to get people to think consciously about how their actions affect campus and the environment” commented Emily Broxup, another resident of the house.
In addition to all of what they have done this semester, they’re hopeful in learning and tackling many more issues and projects in the spring. In particular, they are hoping to learn more about energy consumption on campus, as well as learn more sustainable practices such as composting. They’re also trying to get the initiative going for all plastic containers that are distributed in Gallagher Center at Poblano’s and Fusion to be recycled and repurposed. The house is also learning more about radiation in the Niagara Falls are, the now-closed Tonawanda Coke factory and Love Canal.
This semester was a test-run for the house, and they’re hopefully looking to add more members and residents next semester. They’re looking forward to fighting for and making change happen on the Niagara University campus one seed at a time.
Featured image by: foodnotbombs.com