Earth Week: For the Students, By the Students

At Central Michigan University, Earth Day has been extended into a week-long event series, “Earth Week,” from April 21-25. Each day is filled with programs that promote sustainability and eco-consciousness.

At a school that offers such a wide range of programs where students can get involved, an extra effort needs to be made when planning an event centered around ideas like recycling and sustainability.

Promotions manager for Earth Week, Jacquelyn Baker, stresses the thought that went into organizing the programs in a unique way.

“You don’t have to be a ‘green freak’ to attend,” Baker said.

Baker said the intent was to make Earth Week into an inviting, open event to draw in people who may lack prior knowledge of how to live a sustainable lifestyle. The support Earth Week has received from the community outside of the university will also help the event come full circle and reach as many people as possible.

The celebration of Earth Week at Central has changed from year to year, but would be impossible without the presence of students who refuse to let an opportunity to advocate for sustainability fall to the wayside.

One of these students, Mark Fairbrother, explains how the events this year will differ from years past. He says that this year they made an effort to team up with local businesses.

“…our entire community needs to get involved with this mission in order to see it through with success,” he said.

Community involvement can be seen in the Campus Grow Garden Party on Tuesday, April 22 (Earth Day). The event features live music courtesy of local bands Kavazabava and Moses, food from GreenTree Cooperative Grocery, and a new garden sign donated by Fiorillo Woodworking.

“Cooperation is key,” Fairbrother said. “…as long as you are at least partially favorable to the idea of a cleaner greener world, we can bring you aboard..”

In addition to the Garden Party, Earth Week promises activities every day during the week that range from tie-dying and printmaking on recycled-fiber t-shirts, to outdoor volunteer opportunities focused around recycling and park clean-up. One of the main enlightening events of the week in terms of education about environmental issues is “Eco Talks.” This program will showcase the perspectives from local businesses, organizations, and individuals about sustainability-related topics.

When asked what his goal was while putting together Earth Week, Fairbrother expressed that he wanted it to be beneficial for a diverse group of people.

“We’re trying to meet people where they are — so if you’re someone who thinks environmentalism is recycling your soda cans, well we’re going to meet you, and we’re going to try to bring you two steps forward.”

Though it is a week aimed to educate people about environmental issues, Earth Week will be interactive with attendees through the form of panel discussions, art competitions, trivia games, volunteer opportunities, and crafts. For the students, by the students, details for all of the events at Earth Week can be found on their website.