SCHENECTADY — When a few Union College students in November began organizing a bus trip from their campus to the Women’s March on Washington, they were unsure of the response they’d get.
Just a few days before the event takes place, they’ve raised more than $5,000 to cover costs and have drawn enough interest to fill a bus, with a waiting list of people who will jump aboard if anyone cancels.
“It’s incredible,” said Christie Dionisos, one of the students spearheading the effort. “I was hesitant, and didn’t think we’d fill up all the spots, but within four days, it was full.”
The Women’s March on Washington is scheduled for Saturday, the day after Donald Trump’s Inauguration. The event is intended to express support and solidarity for the rights of women and other marginalized people. Hundreds of thousands are expected to attend, including 56 Union College students, faculty and staff who will make the trip there and back in one day.
A bus will leave Union College at around midnight Saturday and is scheduled to arrive in the nation’s capital by 9 a.m. Those on board will participate in the event, which starts at 10 a.m., before hopping back on the bus and returning home sometime early Sunday morning.
The idea for the trip came in November when Dionisos, a sophomore, and a few other students in the Womyn’s Union on campus spoke with professor Andrea Foroughi about organizing transportation to the march.
Gillian Singer, a sophomore who, along with Dionisos and classmates Dalila Haden and Angie DeDona, has led the planning effort, said they set up a GoFundMe page to help offset the cost of the trip. Their goal was to raise $5,000, and they have since secured a few hundred dollars more than that, she said. It's enough that participants will be able to attend the march for free.
Organizers praised the campus' response to the march, saying academic departments and others were helpful in providing funding.
The trip's organizers said they view the Women’s March on Washington as an historic event and a chance to stand with like-minded people who care about the same issues.
“For me personally, women’s rights and women’s activism and just general activism is extremely important to me,” Singer said. “Being in D.C. for this march, I’ll get to have pictures to show my kids and my grandkids and get to say I was at this march.”
Foroughi, who teaches history at Union, will attend the march as well. She said she’s looking forward to being part of a broader community of people who are pulling together for the event. In some cases, the organizations involved might not agree on every issue, but they’re still coming together for the march, she said.
“I like to think I can come back from something like that ready to think cooperatively, and thinking about how to collaborate on certain issues and ideas,” Foroughi said.