On April 22, approximately 2,000 people gathered at Hinds Plaza for the March for Science, an event taking place in communities across America to raise awareness for science education, as part of an act to address the current state of environmental issues and how they are being handled by the new presidential administration.
The rally was hosted by a local activist group based in Princeton known as Princeton Marching Forward. The organization hosted the event after realizing the state of environmental affairs that are being ignored by the Trump administration.
“It seemed like the new administration was a little more dismissive about science and was threatening to defund agencies that do a lot of research, so I was concerned about that. Science is not perfect, but it is a set of rules that we can all work with to move towards a better life,” said Pezold-Hancock, a member of Princeton Marching Forward.
The event began at 10 a.m. with an educational rally where certain scientists spoke on the importance of science education to further scientific advances for the future and provided various educational activities for children to participate in, such as face painting, making silly putty, and a teaching session on landfills. Shortly after, protestors marched to the Princeton Battle Monument from Hinds Plaza.
Some Princeton High School students believe that the march aimed to gain support for science, instead of trying to promote a specific idea or belief.
“[The march] was more of a symbolic show of support [for] our wishes for the coming years, than actually trying to prove something concrete,” said Darcy Chang ’19, who participated in the march.
Jayne Ricciardi, a biology and genetics teacher at PHS, felt that the march was crucial to promote scientific research after her health was stabilized as a result of medical advances.
“I suffered from heart failure, and my heart is working now perfectly because of the medicines and the treatments I received. So, for me, it is really important for people … to support medical research in order to ensure that we can live the healthiest lives, and future generations can have new cures and new treatments.”
Other students thought that the march raised awareness of the importance of facts and knowledge.
“Right now we are under an administration that is questioning common sense and knowledge that has been accepted for years, so I think that [the march] was a way for a community of people [that have been] struggling, [to cope] with the fact that people have been disregarding science. I [also] think this was a way for people to come together as a community and to celebrate our Earth,” said May Kotsen ’19.
Certain PHS teachers stressed on the importance of learning science for students, as it prepares them to succeed in modern life.
“[Scientific education] really helps develop skills that students are going to need for the greater workforce,” Ricciardi said. “Our economy is being built more and more based on technology, and we are going to need more critical thinking and analytical skills to be productive members of society, and that is what science teaches you.”
Pezold-Hancock ultimately hopes that the people will be able to agree on factual information provided by science to address issues facing modern America.
“We can have all have different opinions about what our priorities as a nation should be but what could really help us get along with each other, are fundamental facts that we all accepted as fact. There is no alternative to fact, but you have to be careful to not let your own biases color your decision making and policies,” Pezold-Hancock said.
Likewise, Pezold-Hancock feels it is essential that both students and adults in Princeton get involved to promote scientific work in the community.
“We have an incredible science community here just because of [Princeton] University and the Institute for Advanced Study and various companies that are headquartered here, so there are always sciene event happening. There are a ton of outreach programs the university does and also less obvious things like getting involved in a community garden getting involved in the schools, really simple things to support science.”