The University of Connecticut’s branch of Fridays For Future is looking to change their focus for the upcoming semester, according to fourth-semester art and art history major and Fridays For Future Vice President Stella Kozloski.
The group, which last semester concentrated on climate justice, is exploring a diverse range of issues with their future plans. Kozloski sat down with The Daily Campus to discuss the group’s new direction.
“If I were to define our focus for the semester, I’d say that we’re really focusing on intersectionality now,” Kozloski said. “People tend to frame the climate crisis as something that’s not occurring yet, like it’s something we can prevent. The truth is much more that it’s already occurring and it’s just disenfranchised people that are experiencing the effects.”
The group began last semester with the Sept. 20 School Strike for Climate, an international movement started by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg. At the protest, Fridays For Future made the commitment to hold sit-ins in President Katsouleas’ office every Friday until their nine core demands were met. The group held true to that promise for the remainder of the semester. However, Kozloski said that Fridays For Future is moving away from that initial vision.
“In the past, we did the sit-ins every Friday. We’re not certain we’re gonna continue that,” Kozloski said.
Kozloski said the biggest change Fridays For Future is making this semester is surrounding their image as an organization. Conflicts around image were one of the causes for the resignation of Fridays For Future’s executive board last semester.
“The issue with our E-board, that’s never going to occur again, I can say safely,” Kozloski said. “Our club is a lot more unified in its goals now.”
Kozloski said the group is moving away from identifying with Fridays For Future as an international organization.
“In regards to what we would like to see change as a club, in a lot of ways we’re still carrying an image that’s not quite what I think our members would have chosen had we started it,” Kozloski said. “Like, one conflict is just our name itself, Fridays For Future. We’re not exactly aligned with Greta Thunberg. We just kind of took the name, but we’re not that. We’re a college protest group, not like a high school group.”
Kozloski said that one of the biggest issues was the perception of the age group associated with Fridays For Future. Additionally, the group wanted to look beyond climate change into more intersectional topics.
“We’re trying to stay more open to issues that might not be defined as purely climate change,” Kozloski said. “We’ve been engaged in some other projects recently, such as trying to get the public aware of Trump’s NEPA [National Environmental Policy Act] rollbacks. We’ve also been focusing on some other intersectional issues. We’re planning for our next major event to be the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.”
More information about Fridays For Future can be found on their Instagram @UConnFridaysForFuture.
Grace McFadden is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.