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BYU, University of Utah unite on climate change

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PROVO — Students at BYU and the University of Utah working together during rivalry week?

It was unheard of until Nick Huey started the Climate Campaign.

Huey started the nonprofit group to advocate for climate change awareness. The BYU senior and campaign director said he wanted to unite students from campuses across Utah, starting with the University of Utah.

"This is the one thing we can unite on," he said. "We want to creatively say this is something we should care about so the public takes notice and Utah becomes a safe environment for political leaders to do something about climate."

Two weeks ago, Huey and a handful of BYU students decorated cars on the U. campus, placing on windshields nearly 3,000 flowers and cards displaying the group's web address.

U. students retaliated early Tuesday morning by decorating the statue of Brigham Young on the BYU campus. They covered the base of the statue in purple flowers and left a poster that read, "This is the Place! To unite on climate change."

The University of Utah students also left a helmet painted blue and red with a purple stripe down the middle. Students passed by and took pictures of the display on their way to their first day of classes Tuesday.

"It’s a good visual representation of that rivalry and the two colors coming together," said Colin Green, a U. senior and University of Utah campaign director. "It’s the two colors coming together, the blue and the red combined to make purple. We feel like it’s a good color of unity."

More than 200 students from BYU and the University of Utah had signed up on the group's website as of Tuesday morning, Huey said.

"We are advocating to state leaders for climate change in creative ways," he said, adding that the group has awareness activity planned for Saturday — the day of the BYU/Utah football game.

"We definitely want to win, but we’re saying this is separate from that," Huey said. "We'd like to be able to take this off campus and show Democrats and Republicans, hey, you can unite on climate change, too. It’s something that concerns us all."

University of Utah senior Jared Stewart volunteered at both events at the two campuses.

"I think it really does matter," Stewart said. "The way we treat the world reflects on how we treat each other as people."

Carly Lansche, another U. senior, joined the group after hearing about the event from friends.

"This issue is crucial to understand and act on," Lansche said. "It impacts communities globally as well as locally. We’re talking about survival really."

The group's purpose is to creatively lobby local and state leaders, and raise awareness for climate change. One idea includes writing Provo Mayor John Curtis, the Republican nominee seeking to replace Rep. Jason Chaffetz in Congress.

According to the Climate Campaign website, BYU students are writing thank-you letters and placing them inside a giant purple "Y" to send to Curtis.

Though the campaign is not university sanctioned, the group partnered with several university clubs to introduce more students to the cause.

Students interested in joining the campaign can visit the Climate Campaign website, where they can sign their support, donate to the cause and watch a video challenging U. students to join the statewide campaign.

"Here's the deal: We'll save the world if you will, too," the video states. "We'd so hate to be better at saving the world than you. That would be awkward."