Agency & Urgency

Kaela Bamberger:

I want to write about two things. Agency and urgency.

Within agency there is ability, and accountability.

The beauty of the divestment movement is that within it, we all have agency. This is not saving children in a foreign country we’ve never seen, or even joining the struggle to save rainforests we’ve never been to.

The Ithaca College divestment campaign is made up of all of us that study at or graduated from, worked at or are associated with this institution. When I say all of us I mean those who are spearheading, participating, and are informed about this movement, and those who have never heard the word, and will never read this piece of writing.

This movement is made up of those who are meeting their agency, getting to know their agency, getting in jealous fights with their agency, eventually falling in love with their agency. This movement is also made up of those complicit. Those who will pass by their agency with maybe a nod on the quad, a pretty girl in the stairs up to your class in Friends.

Divestment at Ithaca College embraces all those who have ability. But it also creates a divide between those who have ability and those who have accountability. We all have agency, but not all of us are agents.

To accept accountability is not an easy thing. To acknowledge your simple presence at this institution makes you inherit the consequences of decisions you did not make seems unjust. To acknowledge your existence in this country is an inheritance of issues you did not cause, that you might not know about, this realization could be catastrophic for you.

But who else? The agency is ours. And urgency introduces us to our agency.

I won’t preach about how climate change is the most important issue we can care about, because what is most important is a individual belief. But this campaign is poignant and immediate, I’d go so far to say that asking Ithaca College to divest from fossil fuels is a right we have as students here. As people associated with and representing this institution, they are accountable to us to let us know where they are investing and even have a say in where.

The urgency is tangible. The agency is ours.