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BYU, U of U students join against climate change again

November 25, 2018

A purple Y lights the hillside on Saturday Sept. 9, 2017, during halftime of the BYU/Utah football game in Provo. The Y represented Brigham Young University and University of Utah students coming together to raise awareness for climate change.

While their respective athletes were rivals on the football field Saturday night, students from Brigham Young University and the University of Utah came together on the mountainside above them.

Following a similar effort last year when students from both schools joined together to light a purple Y above BYU, these students gathered again to create a purple U on the mountainside in Salt Lake City above the rivalry game, in an effort to show their unity in fighting climate change and pollution.

“Purple is the combination of the two rival school colors, red and blue. The purple symbolizes that climate isn’t a party issue, it’s a people issue,” said Kaleb Christensen, BYU student and a coordinator of the event.

This is the second year students proclaimed their purple message during Utah’s Holy War. Last year when the rivalry game was in Provo, students hiked Y Mountain and created a giant purple Y.

Christensen said he was not a part of last year’s effort, but seeing the purple Y got him involved in wanting to fight climate change and pollution.

“I saw the purple Y, did research, and became extremely motivated in the cause,” Christensen said before Saturday’s event. “We’re hoping that carries through to other students.”

Christensen believes last year’s student-led effort led to the passage of House Concurrent Resolution 007, a 2018 resolution on environmental and economic stewardship. The resolution formally recognized the impacts climate change on Utah residents, and encourages the reduction of emissions through incentives and new technology.

“This resolution shows us that climate change is a non-partisan issue that can no longer be ignored,” said Utah Rep. Rebecca Edwards in a May press release about the bill’s passage. “The climate change resolution is groundbreaking for our state but to successfully tackle the effects that a changing climate has on our economy and health, we need to continue to collaborate across party lines.”

Christensen said the purple Y and purple U events are the students’ way of setting an example to Utah politicians to cross rival lines and address issues that are much bigger than either party. He hopes this student effort will help an upcoming carbon tax swap bill pass.

“Utah needs to know that last year’s lighting of the purple Y wasn’t just some stunt pulled by a small group of unconventional students. This isn’t just some fad. This effort is here to stay. Our generation will be impacted the most by not acting to curb emissions and we are speaking out. We need legislation that brings more clean air and clean energy into Utah, for the sake of our future,” Christensen said.

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