UB students and community participate in Buffalo March for Science
Demonstrators advocate for science in solidarity march
Zayne Sember's biggest political concerns include climate change, funding NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Sember joined roughly 2,000 others when he marched through Delaware Park as part of the Buffalo March for Science on Saturday.
The March for Science is a “diverse, nonpartisan group” that calls on political leaders and policymakers to implement evidence-based policies in the public interest, according to the March for Science website. The protesters were driven by President Donald Trump’s threats of budget cuts to companies funding scientists’ work. Other science marches took place in 600 cities around the world on Saturday, including the main march in Washington, D.C.
Participants shouted chants like “Science not violence,” “Citizens need information, fund science education,” and “Hey hey, ho ho, we won’t let our planet go.”
Marchers displayed brightly decorated signs with phrases like “We cannot bloom without STEM,” “Science is not an alternative fact,” and “Grab ‘em by the facts.”
While other recent political marches such as the Women’s March and March for Education took place in highly visible locations in Downtown Buffalo, the Science March was comparatively a shorter and more insular march, beginning in Soldier's Circle and ending in Delaware Park.
“We have an administration that doesn’t believe that half of my coursework is real,” said Josh Herman, a senior geographic information systems major. “I mean, we’re learning about climate change and our president doesn’t believe that’s real, even though 97 percent of scientists believe in it.”
Sember, a freshman political science major was one of the march’s organizers. Sember said he is politically active and considers himself an activist.
“I think we need more grassroots understanding of those issues, we need informed voters to understand those things matter,” Sember said.
Sember described the march as an apolitical, non-partisan event. He said the goal of the march was to advocate for public policy informed by evidence-based science and to emphasize the march’s youth-centered, grassroots style organization.
Sember wishes more people understood science should be important to everyone, not just scientists.
“You have the classical idea of a scientist in a white lab coat and that it’s something that will never affect you and that’s just not true. Just look at anything you use – it comes from science,” Sember said.
Alexandria Trujillo, a PhD student in pharmacology and toxicology, chose to get involved in the March for Science because she has a passion for improving STEM education and science policy based on evidence and research.
She said science is important because it provides the tools to research and find cures for diseases, protect our environment, and end food insecurity. Trujillo thinks it is important to have funding for science and education to get the US “on par” with other countries.
“It was encouraging to see so many people grouping together for the same goals,” Trujillo said. “It is important to advocate for science because it is the future.”
Herman believes science is inherently beneficial to humanity and thinks it’s “baffling” that the Trump administration does not believe in climate change or recognize the importance of scientific research.
“Science is progress. It benefits humanity. No one loses out when we progress in science,” Herman said. “So I think defending it is essential, especially when we have an administration like this one.”
Maddy Fowler is an assistant news editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org