Despite the rainy weather on Wednesday, the Earth Festival was in full swing under the dry breezeway of Colvard. Over 30 organizations came out to educate students walking to and from class on ways they can make an environmentally friendly difference on campus and in the world.
A lot of the organizations and departments at the festival used games and giveaways to engage students. The Earth Club had a wheel that would land on different topics when spun, like water, recycling and climate change. Members of the club would ask the participants questions to see how much they already knew on the topic and then talked to them about what they didn’t know.
“I’ve always been passionate about the environment and activism in regards to the environment,” Earth Club President Tess Overton said. “I found Earth Club as a really good way to get involved with my peers who share the same interests as me.”
Another organization at the festival was The Charlotte Green Initiative (CGI), an initiative that receives a dollar per student each semester to fund projects. Most recently, the initiative worked on a graduation gown repurposing project and a project that involved installing water bottle filling stations to different buildings on campus. CGI committee members gave out reusable water bottles that students could fill at these stations, rather than buying plastic bottles.
“Our usage of plastics and different unsustainable resources can really be improved as well as our recycling and disposable waste,” CGI committee member Robert Jenkins said.
The CGI committee members used Earth Festival as a way to spread awareness of their initiative and ways to get involved. By going to the CGI website, students can propose project ideas and win funding to carry out their project if selected.
“I think it’s important to have an awareness of the impact we’re having on the Earth,” Jenkins said. “The long-term consequences of some of our actions and some of our lifestyle choices right now could be detrimental down the road.”
Some of the other booths included a “Take it or Leave it” tent, which was giving away free school supplies that were originally going to be thrown out, and The Keeping Watch Alliance, which is a Charlotte-based alliance that helps protect the environment.
Also at the event were the Gotcha bikes, the eco-friendly transportation alternative to cars and buses that will be coming to campus soon. The Gotcha Bike program will allow students to rent bikes and return them to different stations on campus. A blood drive was also happening in the career center as part of the Earth Day festivities.
The Earth Festival was part of a series of events held during Earth Month. Other events included Tree Campus USA Day and the annual campus cleanup.
The Sustainability Office has also been hosting workshops throughout the month as a way for students to provide input and recommendations for the rewrite of the university sustainability plan.