Dozens of USC students filled Wallis Annenberg Hall for the chance to remotely ask 2020 presidential candidates about their proposed climate change policies at a two-day climate forum hosted by MSNBC.
MSNBC is partnering with the Georgetown University Institute of Politics and Public Service, Our Daily Planet and New York Magazine for the event. USC participants include USC Annenberg, USC Dornsife and USC Center for the Political Future.
The event was livestreamed on NBC News NOW from Georgetown in Washington, D.C. and aired on “All In with Chris Hayes” at 5 p.m. PDT Thursday and Friday.
The candidates answering questions on Thursday included Bernie Sanders, Andrew Yang, Marianne Williamson, Julian Castro, Michael Bennet, Tim Ryan and John Delaney. On Friday, Pete Buttigieg, Cory Booker, Steve Bullock, Tom Steyer and Bill Weld will talk to students.
USC President Carol Folt, who has made sustainability a top priority in her presidency, met with students helping organize the event on Tuesday.
“I like the idea of the Green New Deal,” she said to the students.
Folt also suggested that a lack of public transit is one of the biggest issues Los Angeles residents face when it comes to their contribution to a warmer climate.
“I think doing a real systematic evaluation about what is the single biggest thing we can do. Is it trains,” said Folt, “Then it’s an all-out single push.”
This comes after she restored the Public Transit Subsidy Program and increased public transit funding from covering 30% of public transit costs to 50%.
University students have a strong interest in climate change because they will be affected by its devastating effects during their lifetime. However, people of various ages and backgrounds have committed to attending the week-long international climate strike on Friday in cities around the world, including Los Angeles. Participants are expected to walk out of schools and businesses to make their voices heard.
The climate forum is taking place Thursday from 7 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. and Friday from 6 a.m. to noon. Any current USC student is encouraged to come and ask a question.
“I think this is a great opportunity to interact directly with candidates,” said Maya Tribbitt, a junior studying journalism who attended the event. “Being live and holding the candidates accountable to answering questions in real-time is amazing.”