Celebrate Earth Day, College Style

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This Earth Day, students from the University of Colorado Boulder will gather in Norlin Quad to celebrate. Photo: The University of Colorado

As a master’s student studying environmental journalism at one of the nation’s top green universities, I wanted to find out what would would be happening on my campus this Earth Day.

This Earth Day is especially important for The University of Colorado as its Environmental Center, the first of its kind in the nation, is sharing its 40th birthday with Earth Day.

The Environmental Center has planned several events to take place on Norlin Quad, one of the most populated areas on campus.

Students are encouraged to picnic on local organic food and talk to local farmers at the event about community-supported agriculture programs (CSA). Also, free CFL light bulbs and locally made ice cream will be given in exchange for a pledge to make environmentally friendly choices.

“The general idea is to bring the idea of Earth Day to light to as many people as possible on campus and the things you can do in your everyday life to promote sustainability,” says Scot Woolley, a CU-Boulder student and Earth Day volunteer.

In a visual demonstration on local climate change, dead pine trees will be on display, and people will be dressed as pikas, an animal whose habitat is changing from global warming.

“We are trying to draw the connection between turning off your lights and pine beetle kill,” says Woolley, who also works with the energy program at the Environmental Center.

Pine beetles have ravaged an area of Colorado’s forests equal to 1.5 million football fields because rising temperatures and fewer winter days below freezing have allowed the them to reproduce twice in one year.

Woolley is just one of 12 student who helped organize the Earth Day events. In addition to the fair, there will be live bluegrass music and a free Reggae concert to celebrate the eco-conscious choices students are making. Students will also hear from Jonathan Koehn, a regional sustainability coordinator who represented Boulder in Copenhagen this past December.

For CU-Boulder students, Earth Day is really just another day to practice our daily eco habits. I’m just one of many students who bikes or takes the bus to class and drinks my coffee from a travel mug.  But, there’s always room to do more.

While biking home from campus a couple of nights ago, I came across Sarah Dawn Haynes, the programs assistant for the Environmental Center, as she was sorting materials in a recycling bin with one hand, while balancing five boxes with her other arm.

Along with touting the hard work and dedication of her 12 student volunteers, Haynes was also eager to tell me about getting involved beyond Earth Day.

“It’s great to learn about the environment in class, but if you’re part of the planning process, it’s all valuable experience,” says Haynes. “You become what you practice. Your life is your career.”

The very first Earth Day in 1970 became a success because of the nationwide response on a grassroots level. So, find out what your university is doing this Earth Day and make a difference.

Read more
The Best Earth Day Events
The Princeton Review Releases Guide to Top Green Colleges
Can a Green Classroom Improve Student Performance?

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