The members of Extinction Rebellion knew that a lot of students would come to the information market on Tuesday, so they decided to stand at the entrance of the campus. They also hung up large banners: ‘Extinction Rebellion’ and ‘Make noise for Mother Earth‘.
“We would like to raise awareness about sustainability and climate issues, especially among new students,” states member and EUR-student Adriana. “We think it’s important that first-year students get the message right from the start of their studies about how bad things are.” She and another member parked themselves at the tram stop from ten in the morning. “We plan to stay here until the end of the afternoon. Luckily, two other members will arrive in another hour, so we can take a break then,” she adds.
Police and security
The Rotterdam police briefly dropped by in the morning. “Apparently someone called them because they were worried that we were going to stage a demonstration”, Adriana explains. They also had a quick check in with the university’s security. “They think it’s okay for us to stand here and talk to people, as long as we aren’t on university grounds.”
The Eurekaweek board does not consider it a problem either, Adriana points out. “They just insisted that we aren’t allowed to hand out flyers, because no one is allowed to do that.”
Not in the mood
Most students respond positively to their chats, Adriana notes. “We have had some great conversations. Basically, students all know a lot about sustainability, and they also do their best to fight climate change by, for instance, eating vegetarian or vegan and traveling less by plane,” she goes on to say. “They also realise that individual efforts are not enough; structural changes have to be made too.”
Nevertheless, some students were not in the mood for the action group. “Some of them turned up slightly worse for wear and said: ‘I can’t cope with a discussion about the climate with my hangover’. Well, we can understand that”, Adriana laughs.