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Ayla Boylen '21 Headshot

Undergraduate Program

Ayla Boylen '21

Art & Environmental Justice

Demanding Radical Change

This article was originally published in the Mount Mercy Times on Nov. 14, 2019 by Caroline Groesbeck, managing editor.

Junior Ayla Boylen recently partnered with the Bernie Sanders Campaign to push for Cedar Rapids to declare a climate crisis and work on a Green New Deal.

Sisters of Mercy impact

Boylen came to Mount Mercy her freshman year because of the care each faculty and staff member has for each student. The Sisters of Mercy’s critical concerns also aligned with her values. Even though Boylen enjoyed these factors of Mount Mercy, she started to see faults within what the university as a whole was doing.

“Even here it seems that what is convenient often comes before what is best."

“Even here it seems that what is convenient often comes before what is best. I often see people with so much good in their hearts with the best intentions that attend one event, or join one club, but don’t follow these actions through to see actual positive change,” said Boylen.

Art and activism

As an art major, Boylen hopes to incorporate her passion into her activism. She has always been appreciative of the earth because of the value and vital things it provides.

“It is extremely difficult to balance work, school, my personal life, and activism, but ultimately I believe we make time for what we need to," said Boylen. "Ensuring the earth and the people in it have a livable future is the most important thing in my life."

Ensuring the earth and the people in it have a livable future is the most important thing in my life.

Ayla Boylen '21
Art & Environmental Justice

Centered on the community

One contribution to the community Boylen has made is starting the Cedar Rapids Climate Strikers.

“I started the Cedar Rapids Climate Strikers because I felt the need to personally take greater action on the climate crisis, said Boylen. I am asking the City of Cedar Rapids to declare a climate emergency, and take direct, radical action to combat climate change and its consequences, and implement a Green New Deal."

Feeling the Bern

It was through the Cedar Rapids Climate Strikers and the Sunrise Movement that Boylen became connected with the Bernie Sanders Campaign.

“I was thrilled to be able to meet Bernie Sanders, someone I have been a long-term supporter of,” said Boylen.

“I was extremely nervous to speak in front of so many people, but very honored to be able to address what I believe to be the most important problem facing our world, in front of people who also believed that Bernie Sanders is the best candidate to address the critical issue of climate change and so much more.”

Boylen hopes that by voting for officials with aggressive climate policies in all forms of government, society will be able to start to mitigate the damage to the environment.

"Our society has an obsession with convienience and money," said Boylen. "We are each individual responsible for what happens to the future of our entire world. If we can set aside our greed, bipartisan politics, and inclination to take the easiest way out we still have a chance, but action needs to be taken now."

If we can set aside our greed, bipartisan politics, and inclination to take the easiest way out we still have a chance, but action needs to be taken now.

Ayla Boylen '21
Art, Environmental Justice

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