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GreeND to host ‘The Footprint of Food’

KRISTEN DURBIN | Friday, January 29, 2010

As the world continues to search for solutions to global warming and alternative fuels, GreeND, Notre Dame’s environmental club, has planned an upcoming Green Summit, titled “The Footprint of Food” to help educate the South Bend community on the impact food has on the environment, in addition to a number of other events.

“Food is a great topic because everyone eats. More importantly, food is central to many of the current environmental and energy concerns,” Colleen Kelly, senior and GreeND president, said.

Kelly said this year’s summit, which will be held on Feb. 22, has a different structure than in past years because participants will rotate through tables on four different topics, including climate change and sustainable seafood. The leaders of the summit are also collaborating with Food Services, which stresses sustainability as part of its mission.

“Through collaboration with Food Services, this event will have both a Notre Dame and global focus,” Kelly said. “I imagine that the success of past Green Summits will continue with this year’s Summit, as this event is more interactive, creative and relevant.”

The summit is made possible due to the collaboration of the Office of Sustainability, GreeND, ND for Animals, GlutenFreeND, Student Government and Students for Environmental Action. Kelly said this broad collection of groups allows the message of sustainability to spread to many different students and has contributed greatly to the club’s success.

In addition to educating Notre Dame about food sustainability, GreeND also runs two environmental education programs for local elementary school students to further their mission of education, outreach and leadership development, Kelly said.

Last semester, GreeND participated in the first Lugar Collegiate Energy Summit, which focused on educating others about energy and sustainability. In response to the summit, GreeND created an educational program in a fourth grade class at St. Adalbert’s School.
According to Kelly, GreeND members teach an environmental or energy-related lesson to the students and share a book or activity with the students after each lesson.

“The purpose of the education program is to energize elementary students about science and the environment,” senior Alice Griesemer, who is in charge of the education program, said. “We want them to understand important scientific concepts that are part of the Indiana educational standards and connect them to environmental concepts that will enable them to be better stewards of the earth.”

GreeND also sponsors an after-school environmental education program for young students.

In addition to the summit and education programs, the club’s Green Fashion Show, taking place on April 23, will be bigger and better than last year’s show, according to Griesemer.

“The location has changed from the LaFortune Ballroom to Legends which more than doubles our capacity,” Griesemer said.

Griesemer also said, in addition to being green, all the outfits will follow a theme that moves through all 24 hours of the day, “from the pale colors of sunrise to the deep tones of night.”

According to Griesemer, most pieces used in the show are found at secondhand shops or designed by students using recycled materials in order to conserve the energy used to assemble, package and ship new items of clothing.

“The main purpose of the event is to show students that it is possible to be fashionable and trendy while still choosing environmentally friendly products,” Griesemer said.

GreeND will also run a simulation of COP15, the climate talks in Copenhagen, in March. The event will be similar to a combination of a Hunger Dinner and Model UN, according to Griesemer.

“It is a great opportunity to learn about the difficulties diplomats faced in brokering a deal and to understand the outcome of the actual meeting,” Griesemer said.