Protecting the Planet


Members of MCLA's Environuts club were among those who protested at the White House in November against the proposed $7 billion Keystone XL Pipeline, which is projected to pump 830,000 barrels of crude oil a day from the Alberta tar sands, across six states to the Gulf of Mexico.

Rebecca Geraci '13 of Ulster Park, N.Y., was among the MCLA students who joined forces with their peers from Williams College and thousands of other young protesters in an effort to pressure President Barack Obama to reject the massive project.

The anti-pipeline protests were spearheaded by environmentalist Bill McKibben, a climate writer who spoke to MCLA students several years back as part of the College's Hardman Lecture Series.

Geraci (pictured above on the left, in the front row, in Washington, D.C.) majors in environmental studies and political science with the aim of practicing environmental law. She said the Environuts club provides her with the opportunity to meet many new people as she learns more about the environment.

"We were able to hear other opinions of the Pipeline and had the chance to voice our own thoughts," Geraci said of her White House experience. "I have learned new things from being a member of the Environuts, and have many fun and educational stories to share with others."

Students who belong to the Environuts club at MCLA promote clean energy practices and are a role model for future generations. They hope to be a catalyst for change by educating others so that they may recognize the harm being done to the planet.

A relatively new club on campus with about 20 active members, Environuts is a student-run sustainability group that was co-founded by Geraci, along with several other students, during the spring of 2010.

Formed from a semester-long project required by a "Green Living Seminar" class Geraci took, Environuts became an official MCLA club in fall 2010, when its constitution was passed by the College's Student Government Association.

"We work to educate the MCLA community and the North Adams community about environmental awareness and protection," Geraci said. "Environuts is extremely important to the MCLA Campus. The club provides a chance for students to learn about the environment and the harm we cause to the planet. The club also provides a way for students to voice their concerns for the planet and gives them an outlet to try to improve them."

Sean Pease '15 of Pittsfield, Mass., (right) also traveled to Washington, D.C. to protest the Keystone XP Pipeline.

"I joined Environuts because I want to be an active member of the generation that saves our planet and convert to clean energy practices. Environuts is a role model for future generations in the hope to reverse the environmental issues occurring today. It allows me to do something I really enjoy and believe in."

"If this club could change the way one person views the planet and makes them rethink their actions, then that is good enough for me," Geraci said.