Simpson community members take a stand for climate


Photos submitted Simpsonian

by Amelia Schafer , Staff Reporter

The first weekend of February, two Simpson professors and one student attended the Climate Crisis March in downtown Des Moines. 

Professors Lau Cesarco Eglin and Molly Tun, as well as senior Shelby Chavez Chun, attended to represent Simpson College and the student body.

The march was held in order to bring attention to the climate crisis. Several groups throughout Iowa attended. 

The three Latinx organizations that attended were Ecomadres Voto Latino and LULAC, which the group marched alongside. 

“We think that activism is important,” Cesarco Eglin said. “Liking and sharing aren’t enough. It’s important to be active and do things, like what SGA is doing with the solar panels.” 

Demonstrations like the Climate Crisis march are also a good way for students to better understand what’s really going on in the world. 

“These marches are a good opportunity for students to see what we’re talking about in class,” Tun said. “I’m teaching Spanish 220 on social movements so we talk about climate change protests and marches so it was a good opportunity for students to see first hand what we’re talking about in class.”

In addition to seeing what students have learned in class occur in the real world, marches like these also give students insight into the fact they too can make a difference. 

“To have the students listen to those speeches given by young people just like themselves is very powerful,” Cesarco Eglin said. “It’s very powerful for a lot of reasons, for the content, for the fact that a light is being shined on minorities, in this case, indigenous youth. It’s not just the content, it’s the fact that they see somebody as young as me and it shows them that they have this power too.” 

Seeing indigenous youth being given a platform was something Cesarco Eglin won’t soon forget.

“It was amazingly beautiful,” she said. “I don’t have enough positive adjectives to describe how it felt to be able to see the indigenous youth voice their thoughts and opinions on this. One of the students was a high schooler. To see young people take charge and minorities get a stage to speak was amazing. The indigenous population has been fighting for this [climate change] for centuries. I think it’s important to give them a chance to speak.” 

Climate change isn’t a faraway issue, it affects people right here in Iowa. 

“Listening to those stories and seeing that those stories are happening right here is important,” Tun said. “This is happening right here and right now.” 

Cesarco Eglin and Tun are part of Simpson’s new project called “Simpson meets Spanish-Speaking Community of Des Moines” which is funded by the Susi grant. The project hopes to reach Spanish-speaking organizations in the Des Moines area such as stores, daycares, and more in order to implement service-learning into the different Spanish courses at Simpson. 

Service-learning can help to better prepare students for the world around them as well as intercultural exchanges in high-stakes settings. 

“We wanted to extend more opportunities for our Spanish speaking students to connect more with students in their own community,” Tun said. “We’re looking into the different organizations, businesses, and events that the community is involved in and looking for a way to give back to the Spanish-speaking community.” 

While this semester two research assistants have already been chosen, new students will be able to participate next semester.