Earth Week 2013 Offers Array of “Green Activities”

Olivia Goodman ’14
News Editor

The week of April 15 was the annual Smith Earth Week, which included various events both on and off campus intended to highlight the importance of being environmentally responsible at Smith and within the larger community. Earth Week was hosted by the SGA Committee on Sustainability, the Green Team, House Sustainability Reps, the Office on Environmental Sustainability, and CEEDS.

The events included activities such as the showing of the documentary A Fierce Green Fire, a tour of the Springfield Municipal Recycling Facility, a Ford Hall Green Roof Top Tour and Tea, a tour of the Smith CoGenerational Plant, a bike ride with the Bike Kitchen, daily lunch time tabling on Chapin Lawn, a vegan foods workshop at the Hellen Hills Hills Chapel and the Earth Week Music Festival on Chapin Lawn.

Deirdre Manning, the Director of the Office of Environmental Sustainability, named reducing waste on campus as one of the main goals of Earth Week.

“We hope to raise awareness about waste reduction – making organizational changes, getting individuals to recognize that routine behaviors can be wasteful, and encouraging changes that will benefit the environment,” she said. Manning also commented on the importance of having an Office of Environmental Sustainability both at Smith and on college campuses in general, noting that “more and more organizations are realizing that it is important to protect and preserve the earth for future generations. Culture change can be difficult. It helps to have resources like an office to help affect change rather than rely on grassroots efforts.”

While Manning helped to facilitate the planning of Earth Week, Smith students organized the featured events and activities. Corinne Walther ’15, a House Sustainability Rep in Cushing, was one of the primary organizers of the Earth Week events, along with Devin McFadden ’14, Dalyn Houser ’13 and Stefanie Cervantes ’13. They worked with various organizations on campus such as Green Team, Engineers for a Sustainable World and Animal Advocates, each of which held events during Earth Week.

Walther commented on the importance of Smith’s annual Earth Week as an “opportunity for all of the efforts made at Smith towards a more sustainable community to be recognized.” She added, “We also hoped to provide a space that would encourage dialogue around sustainability issues. I helped organize most of the week’s events, but much of my efforts were put toward the Earth Week Music Festival on Friday night in Hills Chapel. Maple Valley Creamery provided ice cream, and the music was performed by members of the Smith community.”

House sustainability reps are responsible for encouraging sustainability within the house communities at Smith. They are a resource for information about “green” efforts for other students and often send out sustainability information and tips as well as hold activities such as the SustainabiliTEA, a tea where house reps will hold discussions about sustainability issues along with another activity such as environmentally responsible crafts.

Walther commented on her position as a sustainability rep, noting, “at home, I was taught and encouraged to be conscious of my consumption and waste from a very young age. When I came to Smith, I saw the house sustainability rep position as an opportunity to encourage people to live in an environmentally responsible way and get involved in the larger community on campus.”

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