Earth Day celebration promotes sustainability on campus

April 16, 2012

Lucas Hampton
lhampton@uccs.edu

Earth Day takes a lot of people by surprise. It is one of those holidays that few people celebrate, and even fewer people remember.

But for UCCS students, the Office of Student Activities (OSA) as well as many environment-related student clubs will be setting up shop in the upper and lower plazas of the University Center in celebration of Earth Day.

Earth Day happens to fall on a Sunday this year (April 22), so the events will take place on Wednesday, April 18.

OSA is organizing the event that will feature several student clubs as well as other guests who will speak on topics such as planting trees and rain and storm water collection.

Student and event coordinator Greg Zarnoch explains that the purpose of most of the clubs and organizations that will be present is “to provide the students with information about living a more sustainable or greener lifestyle.”

In addition, OSA will be planting two new trees on the lower plaza with funds provided by the Green Action Fund, a committee that grants money to sustainability projects from the $5 student solar fee.

One club that will be present, Students for Environmental Awareness and Sustainability (SEAS), plans to set up information on sustainable methods of drying your clothes − namely, not using your dryer.

UCCS professor of geography and environmental studies, Carole Huber, is the faculty sponsor of the SEAS club. Huber explains that they are planning “a ‘hanging out’ day to encourage people to use clothes lines.”

What sets SEAS apart from other clubs and organizations that will participate in the Earth Day celebration is their attempt to embody their perspective of energy conservation and waste reduction, for the “hanging-out” event will ask students to donate a piece of clothing, which they will then hang up on the line.

But the clothes line is not just symbolic of the potential energy one could be saving – and the good one could do for the planet. All of the clothes that are donated will go to the Gallery of Contemporary Art for an upcoming art exhibit. The last stop for the donated clothes will be a re-donation to UCCS families in need.

Huber explains that now is a better time than any to get involved in living a sustainable lifestyle; “in a typical home … the clothes dryer uses less energy than air conditioning or a refrigerator, but more than any other appliance.”

Huber continued, “Feeding the dryer electricity will cost nearly $100 a year.”

“In an hour and fifteen minutes, the Earth receives as much energy in the form of sunlight as humans officially use in a year,” she went on to say, “so it is just silly to be using fossil fuels to dry what will already happen from sunshine.”

The promotion of statistics such as these is a primary goal of the OSA and the clubs involved.

Other clubs that will be present at the event include the Nutrition Club, Engineers for a Sustainable Lifestyle and the Energy Service Corps; there will also be a Chipotle stand with coupons for free food.

Although Earth Day is the official day to treat earth with respect, organizations such as SEAS hold events year-round that promote sustainable living.