Carmen Thissen is studying climate change at the University of Montana, and she said time is of the essence to get the planet on course.
Thursday, Thissen was among roughly 100 students and at least a couple faculty members who demonstrated against the climate skepticism in Trump's administration.
President Donald Trump has called climate change a "hoax" and some of his nominees disagree with the scientific community's conclusion that humans are the primary driver of global warming.
"I don't think we have four years to ride it out and wait," Thissen said. "We don't have any time at all."
Reinvest Montana organized the event, part of a national walkout, as part of its campaign to urge the UM Foundation to divest of fossil fuels.
"If I had legs, then I would walk out for climate," read a sign directing the activists into the Payne Family Native American Center.
The UM Foundation maintains it has an obligation to provide the best possible returns for the university and needs freedom in its investment strategies.
At the event, student Jake Cohen said people need to stand up to the current administration and its policies on climate, and the walkout Thursday provided an opportunity to do so.
"It's more important now than ever for people of all stripes to come together and face Donald Trump and demand a better future," Cohen said.
At least a couple professors were present at the center as well. Neva Hassanein, professor in the environmental studies program, joined after her 18 students opted to leave class, called research methods for social change.
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She agreed to split the time with her students, but she wasn't going to bar the door.
"My students walked out, so I came with them," Hassanein said.
As part of the presentation, UM staff member Joseph Grady talked about taking students to the Standing Rock encampment in North Dakota. There, protesters and environmental advocates are opposing the proposed Dakota Access pipeline as hazardous to a water source and destructive of land sacred to Native Americans.
Trump signed an executive order to advance the project, but Grady said the land represents more than profits to him and to future generations.
"When I look out at the land, I don't see dollar bill signs," Grady said. "I see the future of my children. I see the future of your children.
"If Standing Rock stood for anything, it's that a different paradigm, a different philosophy for living is possible."
UM students have been advocating for divestment for three years, according to Reinvest Montana. Last spring, 16 students were arrested in protest of the foundation's investments in fossil fuels, the organization said.
The UM Foundation confirmed Thursday its policy on divestment remains unchanged since September 2015.
In a public forum last February, then-UM President Royce Engstrom said divestment is an ongoing conversation, and in a state like Montana, students and donors aren’t aligned on the issue.
Current President Sheila Stearns was in Helena accepting an award late Thursday afternoon and could not be reached for comment.