Students awarded astronaut Sunita Williams with a standing ovation at this past Wednesday’s All-School Meeting (ASM) after her part-funny, part-serious, part-scientific presentation. There are few female astronauts in the world, and even fewer as accomplished as Williams; the student body, particularly in the context of recent conversations about gender, was lucky to host such an engaging orator. Yet at the same time, our Earth Day presentation did not address many of the goals and values associated with Earth Day, and many were left questioning the choice of Williams as Earth Day speaker.
In setting aside a specific ASM for Earth Day, we have established our commitment to issues of the environment and sustainability, which are essential for a school as socially conscious as Andover. We immediately invalidate this commitment, however, when we do not use Earth Day as an opportunity to educate the student body about the very real problems that climate change poses to both our immediate and global communities.
Particularly as the school is gearing up to enact its five-year Strategic Plan, and as student petitions and forums call for increased awareness of and engagement with climate change, the school should prioritize educating students about such matters above all else. We have already wasted one opportunity to do so and would not like to see the same mistake made again.
This editorial represents the views of The Phillipian Editorial Board CXXXVII.