By Amanda Gabryszak:
Buffalo State College is hosting a protest against SUNY’s recent contract with EnergyMark. The contract will provide five SUNY schools with hydraulically fractured gas for three years. The deal totaled over $22 million dollars, and the schools include Buffalo State College, UB, Fredonia, Alfred State, and the New York College of Ceramics at Alfred State. The protest is scheduled to take place on April 19th on the Buffalo State College Campus, from 12:15-1:30 pm. Weather permitting, demonstrators will gather between Butler Library and Campbell Student Union. Should it rain, they plan to move the protest beneath the archway of Cleveland Hall.
Hydraulic-fracturing, or hydro-fracking as it is more commonly called is a controversial method of obtaining natural gas from shale deposits. Students involved in the protest are concerned about the consequences of fracking, and disappointed that the SUNY seems to support it.
“I guess in my opinion, colleges and universities are to be centers of progression and betterment of mankind and not establishments of old and unhealthy addictions to gas and oil,” explained protest-organizer, Alex Bornemisza, a sophomore at Buffalo State College. “I don’t think that it’s right that they went ahead and did that, and didn’t even try to tell anyone about it until recently, when there was nothing that could be done about it, especially because it’s such a politically controversial issue.”
While the numbers seem modest on the facebook page Bornemisza has created for the event, he explained that the movement is expecting attendance from the school’s NYPIRG chapter, as well as Occupy Buffalo protestors. He expects a fairly large turn-out.
Along with being disappointed with the decision to sign with EnergyMark, Bornemisza voiced anger. “I want to send SUNY a message that this is not something the students want to happen in New York State. It’s not something they want their school to be funding. [SUNY] didn’t tell anybody about it until they started receiving the gas. It was such a big politically controversial issue in New York State. It just seems like they were really trying to trick us, and I have moral issues with that.”
When asked about alternatives, Bornemisza suggested green energy.
“For one, it’s cleaner and safer. And if we’re going to be investing in these new technologies anyway, I feel like a lot of research for green energy has to start there [at the University level]. I think a lot of people can relate with that idea.”
“If you support the cause, come join us. Maybe next time we can stop it from happening.”
For more information on the protest, you can check out the group’s facebook page:
The Buffalo Business First article on the contract: