Photo from The Daily Pennsylvanian/ The Daily Pennsylvanian
With a new semester come new friends, new classes, and of course, new protests. Some protesters come and go, like the religious preachers, but other groups are much more committed.
The environmental activism group “Fossil Free Penn” began a sit-in at College Hall on March 28 in order to gain attention for their objectives. Since then, many people may have forgotten about them and continued with their regular lives. The members of the organization, however, have not lost sight of their cause.
Early this week, a member of Penn’s custodial staff stumbled upon 34 protestors sitting just outside of Amy Gutmann’s office. Since no one has been near her office in over 5 months, their presence was a surprise. Penn administrators quickly realized the truth: they'd been there the whole time. Who knew?
It appears that Fossil Free Penn stuck to its mission, and the members are vowing that next time they'll stay in College Hall until the university revisits its environmental policies, no matter how many years it takes.
College Senior Brian Fredericks, one of the protestors, said that he actually completed an internship over the summer from the comfort of the hallway. “With the internet, pretty much everything can be done remotely,” he said. “Why go all the way to New York and take an hour subway ride every day when I can just sit here, and reduce my emissions in the process?”
Wharton Sophomore Carl Jones said he appreciated College Hall’s peaceful ambience. “I forgot my phone in my room so I’ve all been reported missing by all my family and friends. But I got to meditate every day, and that was pretty cool.”
For all their positivity, the group was surprised that no one knew they were there. "I sort of thought everyone was rooting for us that whole time," Jones said. "It seems like most people just went on with their summers. My parents renamed by little brother Carl, I guess as their way of moving on. Now both of us are named Carl, which is weird."
Despite these minor difficulties, the sit-in is still being treated as an overwhelming success. Fossil Free Penn is focusing on improving their marketing for their next event, in order to spread awareness of the issue and also so that someone will think to bring food and water if such a prolonged protest is repeated.