Culminating in a finale cover of the Beatles’ song “We Can Work It Out” with Sheryl Crow on accordion, Carole King on tambourine, and Faith Hill and Tim McGraw singing backup, the Stop Global Warming Now College Tour entertained an announced crowd of more than 3,000 people at Smith Center Sunday afternoon.
“Curb Your Enthusiasm” star Larry David, his wife Laurie David and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. also headlined the event. The tour has hit 11 other college campuses in the past two weeks, including University of Virginia, University of Maryland and Vanderbilt University, before stopping at GW for the Earth Day concert.
Organizers said they hoped to mix comedy, music and lectures on global warming to rally college students into participating in the green movement.
“We need to begin on college campuses because we know that the biggest, most successful social change movements have happened at the college level,” Crow said during a press conference before the show. “This has to become the biggest movement this country has ever seen – has to be. And that’s not going to happen without our college campuses getting united on it.”
Crow and Laurie David are scheduled to finish their campaign Monday by touring Capitol Hill to lobby Congress. Crow said they chose GW as their final school because of its location.
“It seemed like the perfect place to celebrate this very important Earth Day, right here in Washington, and this university is a great place to do it,” Crow said.
She added that the students were “awesome” to work with.
The show began with a speech by Laurie David on scientific evidence for global warming and tips on conserving resources. After Laurie David’s introduction, recorded segments on global warming by politicians such as Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and comedian Cedric the Entertainer alternated with songs from Crow, McGraw, King and Hill.
Laurie David said there are four main things college students can do to participate in the effort to fight global warming: use more efficient light bulbs, get universities to reduce carbon output, lobby for federal efforts to reduce carbon emissions and join the virtual march against global warming. The virtual march is a Web site petition.
Larry David also performed a short stand-up segment, and Kennedy spoke about the political fight to get out the truth about global warming.
Kennedy received loud applause during his speech, in which he described nature as the closest spiritual connection humans have to God.
“(Global warming) is not just a material Armageddon about the future of the planet and our survival system, but it’s a spiritual Armageddon as well,” Kennedy said. “It’s a spiritual battle against the evil forces.”
Organizers estimated about 45 students volunteered to work at and plan the event. Katie Santo, an assistant production coordinator for the event, said it was especially hectic because there was not much time to plan. Despite the pressure, Santo said she enjoyed the experience.
“It can be stressful at times but, when you think about it, it’s such a cool event to be putting on. Global warming is such a big deal right now,” Santo said. “It’s great to not only be a host university but to be the finale.”
Santo also said she enjoyed working with all of the celebrity performers, who she described as very nice and down-to-earth.
“I got to meet Carole King because I knew some good food places in the area,” Santo said. “You know what she said? ‘I think I’m going to go to that gourmet market,’ in Ivory Tower. She just went there!”
Maggie Desmond, student organizer for the event and president of Green GW, introduced Crow and Laurie David before the concert with fellow organizer Jay Kaplan, the Program Board president-elect and a junior.
“We are the future generation of leaders, so if we don’t change our habits now we’re never going to,” Desmond, a junior, said. “I think this is really when we really figure out how we’re going to live our lives.”
Desmond said she doesn’t think the event was momentous but was an example of necessary progress.
“I don’t think it’s a turning point, but I think it’s right on track with what we need to do,” she said. “I think (the tour) gives us as students who are really passionate about the environment a voice that we definitely would not normally have.”