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Every Carl for Carleton campaign launch features astronaut Mae Jemison, protest from Divest Carleton

<st Friday, Carleton publicly unveiled its Every Carl for Carleton campaign, a $400 million fundraising initiative designed to cement Carleton’s role as a leading liberal arts institution. Mae Jemison, the first woman of color to travel in space, spoke at the campaign launch.

The Every Carl for Carleton campaign has four core priorities and is investing accordingly: $150 million will go towards financial aid for high-need and moderate-income students; $159 million will support faculty and curricular development and fund construction of new facilities; $35 million will bolster internship funding, externship opportunities and supporting life after Carleton; and $56 million will be allocated to the Annual Fund. To date, Carleton has raised $315,658,124 of its $400 million goal.

“We’ve had a very successful campaign so far,” said Cathy Paglia ’74, Chair of the Every Carl for Carleton capital campaign. “Every one of the Board of Trustees has participated and they’ve been incredibly generous, so we’ve made a very, very good start on our campaign, but there’s still more to do. This public launch will set us up to go out and have further meetings with alums and parents to ask them to support the goals of the campaign.”

Speaking to the campaign’s title, Paglia said, “every student who wants to go to Carleton should have the opportunity to come here.” Creating those opportunities is “a real investment, but I can tell you the board is very, very happy to make that investment.” As a Carleton alum and Carleton parent herself, Paglia said, “it’s an amazing group of students and faculty sort of coming together.” Paglia later said, “what we do [at Carleton] is unique . . . I think we’re a national treasure.”

In maintaining Carleton’s legacy of interdisciplinary excellence, the Every Carl for Carleton campaign invested heavily in the sciences, constructing a new Integrated Science facility opening in Fall 2019. “Carleton has always been really excellent at the sciences and we knew it was important to continue to invest in that area,” said Paglia. “So this was a science oriented campaign to build the [integrated sciences] building and to add faculty.”

When looking for a launch speaker, Paglia said the campaign sought to highlight “Carleton’s role in the sciences, the work our students and faculty do in research and the amazing careers that many of our alumni have had in the sciences and particularly women in the sciences.” Dr. Mae Jemison, the first woman of color to travel in space and the principal of the 100 Year Starship organization for interstellar travel research, was invited to speak.

“I’ve always recognized that [the sciences are] something that we do really well here, and particularly for women students, which is not always an easy road at other schools,” said Paglia. “So when we were looking for the embodiment of that, we were looking for somebody who embodied the values of excellence in the sciences, but who was also a real trailblazer as a woman and a woman of color. That would be something that would reflect our values and that we would want to highlight.”

Dr. Jemison’s presence on campus incited widespread enthusiasm. Divest Carleton, a student-run organization aiming to eliminate Carleton investments in the top 200 fossil fuel companies, channeled this enthusiasm to organize a silent protest before Jemison’s speech, demonstrating against Carleton’s fossil fuel investments.

Amelia Blair-Smith ’21, a member of Divest and Carleton’s Democratic Socialist Association (DSA), took part in Divest’s demonstration. “I’ve gotten some pretty positive feedback about it,” she said. “I personally was there with ‘Divest’ written on my forehead in different colors and a lot of people came up and said that they appreciated that, or they thought that was a good move.”

David Roizin ’20, an organ

izer for Divest activism on campus, said, “we’ve definitely gotten a lot of support from students. A lot of people were with us. From trustees and decision makers, generally it’s been friendly, if not super supportive. I think on some level they’re happy students are engaged at least and probably happy we didn’t disrupt anything really more” during Convocation.

Although Divest staged a protest at the Every Carl for Carleton launch, the group is relatively supportive of the campaign. Roizin said “we definitely thought there was a lot of potential” in Every Carl for Carleton. “Low income students and middle income students on this campus need support services. There is definitely a lot of concerning initiatives that could use money.”

Blair-Smith said, “I appreciate the efforts of the administration to try and serve the most vulnerable students in the Carleton population. But at the same time, I think there needs to be a real attention to what is the most effective way to serve not just Carleton students, but this whole global community that Carleton is part of and just thinking of things outside the institution of Carleton and really trying to weigh what our impact is and what our impact can be for good or ill.”

Roizin also expressed concern over Carleton’s global impact. He said “I was struck with fear recently, to see climate change report give us eight to 12 years to bring fossil fuel emissions down to zero and that’s not a path that the college is on and it’s not where it’s putting their money either. So whenever we hear those numbers, like these massive gifts for $100 million, we’re just afraid. How’s that going to fund the things that are going to destroy us?”

Blair-Smith noticed that Mae Jemison’s speech addressed similar concern for climate change. “In her speech, Mae Jemison did mention that ‘if I were you, if I were young people, I would feel really angry at the people who have destroyed the climate coming before you, before you were born and throughout your childhood.’ So I think that was sort of a nod to Divest that she put in her speech,” said Blair-Smith. Divest members encouraged students to email Jemison before her speech to garner support for Divestment. They have not yet received a response.

Roizin hopes to build on Divest’s momentum after the Every Carl for Carleton demonstration. He said, “I think we’ve built a lot of power. We made a lot of connections. There was a pretty broad coalition of constituencies represented on Friday. I’m hoping to keep up with that. Keep working with Carls Talk Back. Just keep learning how people feel about this issue and divestment in general. I think our next step, probably beginning of next term, we want to get all students together and just talk, not necessarily adversarially towards the campaign or administration, but just, ‘do you feel that you as a student, with your needs, are being represented in this campaign by these huge mega-donors’ and just from there, get those feelings down and see what we can do, either working with or possibly against the administration to make sure those needs are met.”

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