The campus-wide Week of Sustainability this year explores the many steps that lead to a healthy environment as the Environmental Campus Organization (ECO) joins forces with other student groups.
“This year we’re really focusing on working with other groups because we want to show the variety of ways you can be environmentally aware or be sustainable other than going to ECO meetings or turning off lights and recycling things,” said ECO Co-coordinator Brett Miller ’15 of New York City. “It’s not only raising awareness about the obvious things but showing all the ways that environmentalism is such a broad area and covers so many things and boils down to just caring about the planet and caring about others.”
This week’s events are co-sponsored by a number of other campus organizations, including People Endorsing Agrarian Sustainability, Outdoors Club, Land Lords, Bike Co-op, Crozier Center for Women, and the Horn Gallery.
Along the way, ECO also hopes to debunk negative environmentalist stereotypes, according to ECO member Sandy Stibitz ’14 of Kensington, Md.
“Environmentalism is often portrayed a very specific way, like a save-the-whales or save-the-rainforest sort of way,” Stibitz said. “It has a history of being that as something that’s very disconnected from people and the needs of people, this whole environment-versus-jobs conflict that you hear about in the news. And there are just so many other ways to look at environmental issues and why they’re important to our society.”
Monday features a presentation by the Maine-based activist art group the Beehive Design Collective. The collective designs and produces intricate posters outlining societal and environmental issues, and will present its latest creation, a piece called “Mesoamérica Resiste,” at 8 p.m. in Philomathesian Hall, Ascension 220. From start to finish, the piece took ten years to complete.
Activities on Tuesday will focus on carbon, with “Oil Spill” chocolate fondue and a “Calculate Your Carbon Footprint” station in the Olin Library atrium. On Wednesday night, student talent will be showcased in a Sustainable Open Mic at 9 p.m. in the Horn Gallery.
Thursday, during Common Hour, a faculty panel will explain the intricacies of climate change. The idea for the panel came out of necessity, according Stibitz. “A lot of folks are really misinformed, and we still get people asking questions like, ‘It’s cold and it’s snowing, I thought there was global warming,’” Stibitz said. Also on Thursday, the environmental activist group Green Corps will host an activist training session from 5-7 p.m. in Peirce Lounge.
On Friday, the Kenyon Community Alliance will present a display of littered beer cans to help the campus understand the community consequences of weekend actions. Saturday, the Brown Family Environmental Center (BFEC) will host a scavenger hunt, and ECO invites students to help work on their Hoop House.
The week’s events culminate on Sunday with the Earth Day Challenge Half Marathon and Four-Mile Run/Walk, followed by the Earth Day Festival at the Kenyon Athletic Center. The free festival will include health displays, products vendors, local food, music, activities for children, and farm animals.
All week long, student residences will be challenged to reduce their energy consumption in a residence hall energy competition.
To learn more about the Week of Sustainability, call (740) 427-5158. To learn more about the Earth Day Challenge and festival, call (740) 427-5052.
By Nina Zimmerman ’14