Cooper Climate Coalition

I spent my time at the Cooper Union building community and giving students agency. Working from an interdisciplinary and intersectional framework, I co-founded the Cooper Climate Coalition around a shared desire for knowledge about the climate crisis. The Cooper Climate Coalition is an open body of students, faculty, and staff at The Cooper Union, facilitates conversations, events, and student projects within the institution that center the climate crisis and its intersections with races, classes, genders, sexualities, histories, economies, political structures and more. Along with organizing Cooper Union’s Climate Week programs and events in the fall, the Climate Coalition takes responsibility for fostering interdisciplinarity throughout.

This Cooper community was able to become more conscientious by slowing down our pace; the coalition included people from different majors, and devised a plan to build infrastructure for climate work at the school. As a collective, we built an argument for why art, engineering, architecture, and the humanities (the Cooper Union’s four faculties) can no longer continue without explicitly addressing the current and future network of collapse that is rooted in ecological destruction. These changes to the academy cannot move in institutional time; they must move at the pace of the rapidly developing crises of our contemporary world.

These disciplines, which are all intrinsically tied to studies of representations and to inventing our world, must begin to teach students to apply their coursework to show the scale of the issue, invent possible mitigations, and shift culture. It is rewarding to see that we have become an influential coalition within the institution: raising climate awareness, advocating for climate literacy, changing curricula, creating new courses, facilitating community, programming free, public climate lectures, and demanding our college to consider the intersection of racism and climate change. To fully engage the climate crisis, we must interrogate all of our existing systems, which means we must also demand that our institutions change.

In addition to curating three Cooper Union x Climate Weeks, Alisa curated Thursday Talks, events aimed at fostering intimate conversations with a network of experts and enthusiasts about the intersection of their work with climate. These conversations are open to Cooper union students, alumni, and select guests.

The Cooper Climate Coalition is funded by the Presidents Grant of the Cooper Union for Advancement of Science and Art.