Last week, the Undergraduate Student Government of the University of Connecticut’s Hartford campus passed a resolution to support the protection of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
The Arctic Refuge is “an undeveloped area in Northeast Alaska” with up to 45 species of land and marine mammals, according to a press release. The coastal plain of the refuge, which spans 1.5 million acres, is vulnerable to oil drilling.
A campaign called the Arctic Refuge Defense Campaign, which was formed in 2018, aims to “gather commitments from national and international insurance companies to not provide insurance cover to development in the Arctic Refuge,” the press release said.
Sam Cowles, who is the field organizer for the campaign, said UConn Hartford USG’s resolution acts as a message to local insurance companies in Hartford.
“This resolution is saying to Hartford Insurance companies that UConn Hartford students want them to act to protect the Arctic Refuge by not insuring oil development within the region,” said Cowles. “With Travelers Insurance and The Hartford both having offices nearby campus, it shows them that their future employees want to protect the Arctic Refuge.”
When asked about the significance of the resolution passed at UConn Hartford, Cowles said it is important for local corporations to know that their actions affect whether or not people will work for them in the future – including UConn Hartford students.
“It is important for institutions like UConn Hartford to pass resolutions supporting the Arctic Refuge because of the importance they have in the area and because students at these institutions are the future employees of the companies,” Cowles added. “It tells Hartford’s insurance companies that the corporation’s actions will have an impact on who decides to work for them.”
According to Cowles, the demands in the resolution represent “the voice for the whole student body” at UConn Hartford.
Hartford USG president Andy Lanza said he is proud of the resolution and hopes other local institutions will take action as well.
“By passing this resolution we are uniting the voice of UConn Hartford students speaking directly to Hartford’s insurance companies, asking them to not provide insurance cover to development in the Arctic Refuge,” Lanza said.
According to Cowles, UConn Hartford will host a rally regarding the campaign on Thursday, Nov. 10 at noon. The rally is expected to include speeches, a petition and a march around the headquarters of Travelers Insurance.