The Advance-Titan

Free School brings social justice, environmental classes to UWO

The University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Student Environmental Action Coalition hosted a Free School event to create awareness and inform the community and campus about the environment and social justice classes on Saturday at Sage Hall.

Kailey Wood, UWO 2016 alumna, said Free School is an opportunity for UWO students to be welcomed to a free day of learning.

“Education is a very important aspect in someone’s life and it is a unique opportunity for people to come in to learn different trades,” Wood said.

UWO student Sossina Chirhart said SEAC focused on bringing the community together to teach about environmental law and policy and social justice classes.

“Members of the community come and teach the classes,” Chirhart said. “It is found on goodwill. You should want to give back to your community because we want to build the community and help strengthen together.”

Wood said SEAC chose classes based on what the club is passionate about, including progressive ideas.

“Last year I taught a class on empowering women in Africa, and this year I gave a presentation on the refugee crisis in America,” Wood said.

Chirhart said this is Free School’s second year holding the event, and this year was even more successful, with about 150 people attending.

“To me it speaks its importance with the volume of people, but also people around the community,” Chirhart said.

Chirhart said the event brought in local business owners to teach classes on their expertise, and even local council women attended the event.

“I think something like that where it brings your local community people from all different backgrounds all together is a good way to immerse ourselves,” Chirhart said.

Chirhart said this event is important because it puts a huge emphasis on the community coming together and learning together so we can function as a community should.

UWO student Caitlyn Uhlenbrauck said she attended a class called “container gardening” and learned about different types of seeds and how to grow plants.

“I learned a lot, and I think from this class it taught us that there are other ways instead of buying from stores, you can buy local,” Uhlenbrauck said.

Uhlenbrauck said it is important to bring attention to the environment.

“I think that there needs to be a big push for awareness of the environment, especially now, because kids don’t really get taught that growing up,” Uhlenbrauck said. “Just being aware of how much waste we have and [incorporating] more sustainable practices.”

Uhlenbrauck said she was able to learn a lot through the Free School event.

“It is a good way to interact with the community, [and] is a really cool event to bring people together of all different ages,” Uhlenbrauck said.

UWO student Casimir Curney said anyone who wants to learn anything can and should.

“If you want to know something you go out and get it, [and] it becomes a passion of yours and you can do whatever you like with it,” Curney said.

Chirhart said the event emphasizes community and available education.

“I believe that education should be accessible to everyone and because of the social circumstances, and the system we live, education is not [always] accessible,” Chirhart said. “That’s what I always tell people ‘don’t you think everyone should be able to learn? Don’t you think we should all get an education?’”

Wood said everyone should have an opportunity at an education despite the growing cost, especially at a university level.

Chirhart said Free School encourages the community and campus to work together.

“If a community that works together and learns together, [it] is a community that will function together,” Chirhart said. “And I really believe that.”

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Independent Student Newspaper of the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
Free School brings social justice, environmental classes to UWO