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The Carletonian

Carls travel to march for women in Washington

<day, 50 students boarded a bus headed for Washington, D.C. At the end of their roughly 22-hour drive awaits the Women’s March on Washington, a grassroots movement intended to “send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights,” according to its official website.

For Sarah Goldman ’17, one of the principle organizers of the students’ trip, the March is a way for Carls to “show support for women and all the struggles they go through, in terms of being recognized by politicians and against a lot of things that the current establishment, who is going to be starting soon has said, and how they treat women.”

Leaving campus midday on Thursday, the busload of students will arrive midday on Friday, likely after President-elect Donald Trump’s inauguration. “We made a calculated decision not to go to the inauguration,” said Goldman, noting that this choice was made not just for logistical reasons but also because there were “concerns about if people wanted to be at the inauguration.”

Instead, Goldman and her fellow organizers are in the process of setting up meetings with Minnesota Congressmen that afternoon, but so far have not confirmed any appointments.

With the focus on joining the Women’s March on Saturday, the organizers have elected to make the rest of the trip relatively austere.

They have raised $9,000, partially through an anonymous $5,000 donation from a former Carleton parent, most of which will go towards paying the bus drivers and procuring Metro passes for the 50 students, according to Goldman.

In an effort to cut costs, the attendees will be staying in the home of a current student and will be eating pack-out food from Bon Appetit. “We’re taking people’s meals from the meal plan for the time they’ll be gone and getting pack-out food,” namely sandwiches, lunch meats and bagels, Goldman said.

These pack-outs will be eaten for breakfast, lunch and dinner throughout the whole weekend, until students return midday on Sunday.

Part of the reason for this austerity was the relative difficulty in raising the requisite funds. The organizers created a GoFundMe page and asked each student to raise roughly $150, although that was a soft target, according to Miko Zeldes-Roth ’18.

Additionally, each student was asked to contribute $30. Without the generous donation, it may have been difficult to reach the target amount of $9,000, as they reached their threshold only a week before the trip was set to take place.

All of the organizing for the D.C. trip was done without any institutional help. “We used [the school] a little bit as a sounding board. We’ve met a few times, but they’re not giving us any money,” said Zeldes-Roth. Goldman added that SAO and the CCCE have been supportive, but there has been no formal support in terms of organizing or financing.

Conversely, a student-led initiative to join a companion march in St. Paul has received some institutional aid. Organized primarily by CORAL and WHOA, there are three CSA-funded buses set to take 200 students up to St. Paul College on Saturday morning to join the march on the Minnesota Capitol.

According to Shayna Gleason ’17, one of the principle organizers of the Minneapolis event, the buses were contracted in an attempt to help those people who “wanted to do something, but didn’t feel for whatever reason like they could go to D.C.”

The buses will also help accommodate the many people who expressed interest in going to D.C. but couldn’t for logistical reasons.
According to Zeldes-Roth, 160 students responded positively to an initial email gauging general student interest last December. Fewer students actually expressed intent to go, but still outnumbered the spaces available on the bus.

“There were about 80 people who expressed interest at one point or another in actually going, beyond just the initial interest form,” said Zeldes-Roth, who noted that, despite not being able to accommodate everyone, there has been no anger or unrest by the general student population.

For him, this march marks the beginning of Carleton’s peaceful push-back against the Trump presidency. “This is the beginning of, hopefully, many ways in which there can be a sustained response to his administration.”

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