Inaugural ‘Earth Week’ highlights sustainability
The Green Events Commission’s first-ever Earth Week is intended to raise awareness of sustainability issues on campus and educate students by means of different events and information sessions.
The themed week began with a kick-off in Edison Family Courtyard on Monday, which was also Earth Day. Different environmental and sustainability groups set up booths with activities or fliers to help students find out ways to become involved and how to become more sustainable in their everyday lives. The GEC also encouraged green groups on campus to participate in the week by putting on different events or informational sessions.
“We want to show the campus the sustainability community’s presence, but we also want to educate them on these issues,” GEC co-chair and sophomore Anna Deming said. “The point of this week is to provide the green community some exposure on campus in a fun way.”
“We have a pretty good green community, and a large percentage of the student body is pretty supportive of green initiatives, but we hope this week will just help to further that response,” Deming added. “Wash. U. has a long way to go to being more sustainable, but our community in general seems eager to head down that path.”
Sophomore Libby Mohr, communications and education coordinator of The Burning Kumquat, the on-campus farm, said the Kumquat booth saw a lot of traffic during the event.
“There were a ton of people walking through, and we were hosting worm races, and it ended up being a riot,” she said. “A lot of races were really close, and people seemed to be getting really into it. It was a really exciting way of getting people riled up for the week.”
On Monday night, a climate change panel took place in Tisch Commons, featuring five professors from different departments who discussed how their fields focused on sustainability and issues pertaining to climate change.
Bon Appetit will be hosting low-carbon food demonstrations in the Danforth University Center and Bear’s Den throughout the week. A Washington University Cooperative-hosted picnic will take place on Thursday at the Gingko Walk from 12-1:30 p.m., followed by a “Bike to the Future” bike-in movie event on Art Hill showing the movie “Back to the Future.”
A sustainable food discussion and Inklings workshop occurred on Wednesday, and the week concludes on Saturday with a Burning Kumquat work day from 2-4 p.m. and a documentary film screening of “Cafeteria Man,” which discusses the Baltimore school area’s switch to healthier and more sustainable food.
“Access to information about sustainable food is really important, and there’s no way to get around it,” Mohr said. “A significant portion of climate change is attributable to agriculture, so the way we produce and what we produce is a really important thing for people to be aware of. The documentary provides good insight into those facts.”
A bike tune-up and Tote Green reusable bag decorating event will take place during the day on Thursday, and an electronics-free evening of board games, hosted by the Environmental Justice Initiative, will be held Thursday evening.
Sophomore Melanie Stern said she did not initially know Earth Week was happening but was interested in how different student groups were collaborating to celebrate the week.
“I was eating lunch at the DUC and saw all the different groups putting things on,” she said. “I talked to a few of them, and it was really cool to see how different groups are going green in different ways.”