Friday, April 23, 2010
Warm sunshine, a cool breeze and the faint sound of an acoustic guitar filled the air outside the Sarazen Student Union as members of the Environmental Club joined fellow students, faculty and administrators in celebrating the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.
“Earth Day, for most of us on the faculty, has been a part of our lives since we’ve grown up,” said Economics Professor Jim Booker, who led students, faculty and staff on a campus nature walk.
Booker added that Earth Day celebrates the environmental movement that helped to improve air and water quality and develop the ecological standards many people now take for granted. “It’s a call to keep that and build on it,” Booker said.
While they weren’t around when Earth Day began, Environmental Club students have truly embodied the spirit of the movement. As Earth Day turned 40, they did their best to make sure other students turned their attention toward conservation.
The club tie-dyed reusable bags, planted a tree, welcomed outside groups including TOMS Shoes and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to campus and even put their use of personal electronics on hold for the day. Lap tops, iPods and Blackberries were turned off as the students experienced life away from the gadgets they’ve grown up using.
“Not only did we ‘go back in time’ and live without technology as Earth Day celebrants did 40 years ago, but we reduced our carbon footprint as well,” said Environmental Club President Emily Merritt ’12. “It is an awesome challenge to see how we could survive the day without the technology we are so dependent upon."
“It’s difficult to just drop everything,” said Environmental Club Vice President Danielle Seeley ’11 who admitted she was going through a bit of an electronic withdrawal. Still, she said leaving her cell phone behind for the day was, in a sense, liberating.
Seeley said she hopes the events and the clubs efforts to go “electronics free” for the day will increase people’s interest in creating a more sustainable campus.
“I really hope it raises awareness and gets students talking,” Seeley said.