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University celebrates Earth Day with rally

Laura McCrystal | Thursday, April 23, 2009

More than 10 student groups and off-campus organizations converged for an Earth Day rally sponsored by Students for Environmental Action (SEA) at the Fieldhouse Mall Wednesday.

“You hear so much about energy and the Earth, so this is a hopeful event where people who care about the Earth can come together,” senior SEA co-president Ann Kelley said.

SEA set up a table at the rally offering buttons, mini frisbees, stickers and reusable bags to students. Another table displayed photography from SEA’s wildlife photo contest, which McCabe said represented submissions from 20 Notre Dame students.

As students walked by the rally, SEA co-president Collin McCabe said he was happy to see that many of them stopped to talk to the various groups present.

“The goal of the Earth Day rally is partly a celebration of the Earth,” he said. “It’s more an awareness of environmentalism on campus and how [students] can get involved on and off campus and how they can do their part.”

GreeND, another student group, displayed information about recycling and gave out free bagels. Students representing the Office of Sustainability sold Energy week t-shirts, and a hybrid motorcycle constructed by Notre Dame engineers was on display.

Several organizations from the South Bend community were also present at the rally.

Vendors Just Goods and Ten Thousand Villages sold environmentally and socially conscious clothing and other goods.

Kelley said these organizations provide an opportunity for students to learn and get involved.

“We’re engaging groups within the community but also on-campus groups,” she said. “Students can pick up a pamphlet and know that these action groups are here if they want to get involved.”

McCabe said the Earth Day rally has expanded from last year to include more groups.

“We have some different things,” he said. “I feel like we’ve grown a little.”

SEA also offered information about compost to show students that it is even possible to create a small compost box in a dorm room, McCabe said.

Representatives from the local branch of the Audubon Society, the Alaska Wildlife Coalition and the Hoosier Environmental Council offered pamphlets and information about their organizations.

A vendor from the South Bend Farmer’s Market also offered free samples of cookies to students.

As part of Earth Week, SEA is also sponsoring a film festival Thursday night and participating in a bike festival on South Quad Friday.