This is What Democracy Looks Like

The Unity Community has 18 more reasons to be proud this Monday morning.


In Washington D.C. yesterday 18 Unity students 2 Unity faculty and 1 Unity President joined approximately 12,000 concerned people in a celebration of democracy, advocacy, and science at the 350.org Circle the White House Tar Sands Action. The action goal was to circle the White House in a line of people locking arms in order to ask President Obama to reject the Keystone XL Pipeline proposal this fall. 350’s newest employee, Jean Altomare, Unity College ’11, shared the news that the action doubled its expectation in people and actually circled the White House twice.

In a note to participants after the event 350 founder Bill McKibben said this…

There are days along any journey that stick with you, and today was one of them… Under blue Indian Summer skies, more than 12,000 people from every corner of the country descended on Washington DC; then, with great precision, they fanned out to surround the White House and take a stand against the Keystone XL oil pipeline.

Rally speakers included James Hansen, Naomi Klein, McKibben, and Actor Mark Ruffalo.

President Barack Obama was said to be playing golf Sunday morning but apparently was in the White House at least part of the day and his motorcade got close enough to hear Unity student David Maar chanting “Yes we can, stop the pipeline.”

In about 36 hours 18 Unity College students rode 1200 miles, sang 14 songs, visited 6 National Memorials, chanted 53 chants, lost 15 voices, saw 17 old friends, took 1034 pictures, smiled innumerable smiles, and slept very very little.

The students dressed and comported themselves professionally, represented the college very well, and thought hard about Tar Sands and climate change science.

The students were joined by their college president, Stephen Mulkey, whose unmistakable baritone added the most compelling “The people united will never be defeated” that I myself have ever heard. Stephen was tireless in answering questions about the college and about climate change science to eager conversationalists from Maine and elsewhere.

Adjunct Faculty Member, Tom Aversa, joined at the last minute to act as the group’s National Mall ornithological consultant.

Unity Students who should be expected to be a little tired and a lot proud this morning are Amy Kennedy, Tess Cleary, Tim Godaire, Summer Nay, Jenny Wiacek, David Maar, Ian Sypek, Olivia Thornton, Julie Wheeler-Luna, Annica McGuirk, Jake McGinley, Amanda Parmagiani, Annie Witzorreck, Teneele Rowe, Tiffany DeMell, Katie Nolan, and J-bro Davidson.

Unity College Sustainability Coordinator Jesse Pyles provided all the pre-trip logistics, home base support, and one-man-welcome-wagon. Thanks to the President’s Office and the Student Government Association for providing the bulk of on campus funding. Thanks to Andy Burt and her Green Sneakers network for arranging buses and additional funding. Thanks to Jim Reed for the send off and much-welcomed travel treats.

4 Responses

  1. You guys were awesome and it was wonderful to see all of your faces! Go Unity!

  2. I am so excited, proud, and inspired by your journey!

  3. [...] 2011 when a squad of Unity students and staff — led by President Stephen Mulkey — Circled the White House to say “no” to the Keystone XL Pipeline and “no” to tar [...]

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