In celebration of Earth Day on April 22, the Environuts are collaborating with the Sustainability Committee to plan conservation awareness and green living events on campus throughout the month.
The Sustainability Fair will take place on Wednesday, April 18, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Events in the Campus Center Marketplace will include handouts, information, and posters regarding recycling, calculating our carbon footprint, the bike share program, and so on.
Junior Jason Brown, president of the Environuts, said he hopes the success of these events will leave an example for future Earth Weeks on campus.
“There will be a lot going on, between Earth Week and the Student Activities Council’s Spring Week,” Brown said. “As we move into nicer weather, there is no better way to welcome spring than by celebrating our planet and showing our support for sustainability on campus.”
There will also be other venders in the Marketplace, such as local food vendors like Wild Oats. ARAMARK will staff a table to inform the campus about available local foods and how they are incorporated into the College’s food service program.
The Follett Book Store will table on the new eco-friendly graduation gowns.
Environmental Studies Professor Daniel Shustack will display posters from his Environmental Resources, Science, and Management class.
“Students in the course generate a poster based on their semester investigation into a topic of their choosing,” Shustack said. “Each semester, the class votes for the best two to four posters to be displayed on Earth Day for the whole campus to see. This year, we will display the eight to ten best posters from the last three semesters of the course, all with an environmental theme.”
Jim Stakenas, Vice President of Administration and Finance and Chairperson of the Sustainability Committee, said he is most excited for the Chevrolet Volt hybrid and electric cars demonstration courtesy of Bedard Bros.
He also said there are infinite opportunities for the community to embrace sustainability efforts.
“Even though the College has changed heating and cooling systems, we still have a long way to go towards sustainability,” Stakenas said. “The events we have planned will create the community’s consciousness towards the amount of energy they consume every day; this is a lifelong learning experience. It also helps the campus meet its commitment towards long term green energy use.”
The light bulb swap will allow anyone to trade their incandescent light bulb for an energy saving fluorescent light bulb. This table will also talk about what to do when fluorescent light bulbs burn out.
MCLA has also partnered with MassRIDES, a service of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, to offer transportation options and support energy conservation, according to Dean of Students Charlotte Degen.
“Our MassRIDES partnership supports our environmental goals, as well as reduces parking demand, improves air quality, lowers our carbon footprint, and saves money,” Degen said.
NuRide is a free online way to receive rewards when a person travels by public transportation, bike, foot, telecommuting, carpooling or work a compressed week, Degen said.
“If you are looking for someone to travel with, you can join NuRide to connect with other travelers going your same way,” Degen said. “Visit the MassRIDES station at the MCLA Sustainability Fair and find out more information or sign up.”
Bike Share safety information and sign up will also be present at the fair. The grand opening of the program is on Earth Day.
“Stop in and look at our bike share bikes, pick up bike safety information and sign up to borrow a bike,” Degen said. “Save money, get exercise, reduce stress, get to where you are going and save our planet — ride a bike!”
There will also be a Bike Share information meeting on Friday, April 6, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Marketplace, along with at the Sustainability Fair.
“I am super excited for the opening,” Brown said. “This program has been many years in the making. We would not be where we are without the hard work of the community. It was certainly a collaborative effort.”
He said this is the pilot phase of the program. It will host seven bikes for students to rent up to 24 hours from the library. If the program is successful, it will expand, he said.
On Wednesday, April 25, there will be a National Weather Service Training Program at 7 p.m. in Murdock 218 to train students to become weather spotters.
The Recycling Fashion Show will be held on Thursday, April 26, at 7 p.m. in Venable Gym. It is sponsored with the Residential Programs and Services recycling committee. Residential Advisors will model while
faculty members will judge the show.
“Residence members can arrange a team to work on a recycled outfit made out of any recycled material for the show,” Brown said. “This event is all about team building, being creative, and having fun. There will also be prizes.”
A Green Living Seminar, on landscaping and bird biodiversity, will be presented by postdoctoral research associate Susannah Lerman of the U.S. Forest Service Northern Research Station earlier that day. This will be held on Thurs, April 26, at 5:30 p.m. in Murdock 218.
On Saturday, April 28, there will be a Garlic Mustard Derby, which is when a group of students tackle the invasive species along the Massachusetts and Vermont boarder.
“We will be working with the trustees of the reservation,” Brown said. “We get to enjoy their property for the day while doing service work, having a picnic and a bonfire.”
Environuts will also be screening two films: their documentary on the Tar Sand Day of Action and the documentary “Tapped,” but final dates will be announced.
Finally, in celebration of Earth Day, planning is ongoing for a work day in the campus garden. For more information regarding these events or how to become involved, contact Jason Brown via FirstClass.