"Change for Climate 2008" - Students Fighting for Change

"Change for Climate 2008" - Students Fighting for Change

By Victoria Rosoff, CS '08

Join the Climate and Society Class of 2008 for the first annual “Change for Climate” fundraising event this April 25th. The students of the MA Program in Climate and Society (CS) at Columbia University are on a mission to spread awareness about the impacts of climate change on poverty, while at the same time raising funds for the Millennium Village in Dertu, Kenya.  

Allison Leighton, CS’08, explains, “We chose the village of Dertu because it suffers from recurring drought and famine, which will only worsen with climate change. If we can raise money for this village to help it deal with the negative impacts of climate change and at the same time raise awareness of the connection between climate change and poverty, then our event will be a success.” 

This unique 12-month interdisciplinary Masters program offers its students the opportunity to learn about climate science and policy from the physical and social science perspectives. Students take electives within various schools at Columbia, including public health, international affairs, and engineering ,in order to gain a better understanding of the nexus between climate change and its socioeconomic impacts.   Climate and Society students are dedicated to spreading awareness about the effects of climate variability on the poor and raising funds for the Millennium Village in Kenya.

As stated on the Millennium Villages website ( : “The Millennium Villages are proving that by fighting poverty at the village level through community-led development, rural Africa can achieve the Millennium Development Goals—global targets for reducing extreme poverty and hunger by half and improving education, health, gender equality and environmental sustainability—by 2015, and escape the extreme poverty that traps hundreds of millions of people throughout the continent.” The program’s focus on environmental sustainability and poverty alleviation created the impetus for this unique event.

“Change for Climate 2008” will take place on Friday, April 25, 2008 in Schermerhorn extension (5th Floor) on the Morningside campus of Columbia University. The event runs from 3 to 8pm, featuring a carnival theme with various booths available for people to participate in climate and development related games and activities. Tickets can be purchased on site to play at each of the booths and all money made from ticket sales will be donated to the Millennium Village. In addition, there will be various prizes raffled off at the end of the night. The money made from the sale of the raffle tickets will also be donated. Raffle tickets can be purchased in advance of the event, with more details coming soon on the event’s website: .

When asked what she thought made this event unique, Climate and Society student Sarah Abdelrahim’08 commented, “Most of the time people look at the pure scientific aspects of climate change. I think our program and the event that we are putting on is unique in that it looks at the impacts that climate change has on societies around the world.”

“Change for Climate 2008” is a student run event that is open to everyone. All are encouraged to come participate, learn, help, and win. Many will win raffle prizes and all will win in the fight against poverty!