Fossil Fuel Free UConn joined the UNCHAIN club as they hosted their third annual Disorientation event in Lawrence D. McHugh Hall on the evening of Friday, Sept. 29.
According to the UNCHAIN Instagram, “Disorientation is a comprehensive guide to UConn and the social problems it perpetuates, from capitalism-imperialism to white supremacy to climate catastrophe.”
The event included presentations from members of both clubs on the University of Connecticut’s connection with the military industrial complex and the fossil fuel industry.
Although this was the third Disorientation held by UNCHAIN, it was the first time that Fossil Fuel Free UConn joined them for the event. According to a presentation given at the event, the theme was “UConn’s role in imperialism and climate change.”
Adam Opin, a seventh-semester political science major, is a member of both UNCHAIN and Fossil Fuel Free UConn. This was his first time attending Disorientation, and he said that there were a few major takeaways from the event.
“First of all, there was a real educational aspect to it. I know both myself and I think a lot of students really understood the university a lot better in its ties to both the military-industrial complex and to fossil fuel companies, which is the goal,” Opin said.
Nell Srinath, the chair of UNCHAIN, presented about UConn’s ties to the military-industrial complex. According to Opin, the presentation focused on what it meant for UConn to “have this conflicting interest of benefiting the public while at the same time being both a pipeline for the military industrial complex and a pipeline for the U.S. military in recruiting.”
Two students from Fossil Fuel Free UConn also spoke at the event. Monet Paredes, who is double majoring in political science and environmental studies, presented about UConn’s greenwashing, which is when an institution misleads the public to indicate that they are more environmentally friendly than they are, and the school’s connections to fossil fuel through contracts, investments and donations received.
Colin Rosadino, a second-year law student, gave a speech about “how UConn students really have the power to hold these companies accountable through action with their group,” according to Opin.
“I think it did encourage participation and activism in relation to these,” Opin said of the topics discussed in the presentations.
Opin also said that the event worked to inspire cooperation among student activist groups that normally focus on different issues.
“It encouraged collaboration between various student activists, between student activists in UNCHAIN who might be more concerned about the military-industrial complex and student activists in Fossil Fuel Free UConn whose primary concern might be the fossil fuel impact on campus,” Opin said.
A representative from the Undergraduate Student Government also appeared at the event, according to Opin.
“Beyond an educational thing, this was a very important moment for coalition building as well, and we’re hoping to collaborate with USG and start using their outreach because, you know, last year we had a stronger USG presence than we had this year,” Opin said. “And regardless, they have a very capable outreach network being able to mass email every student on campus. So we’re hoping to work with them, and I think this was a successful event.”
Editor’s note: Opinion Editor Nell Srinath is the Chair of UNCHAIN and spoke at the “Disorientation” event.