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Saint Mary’s celebrates international Earth Day

| Wednesday, April 25, 2018

The Saint Mary’s Student Government Association’s sustainability committee hosted various events this past weekend in honor of Earth Day, celebrated April 22. The events were intended to support environmental awareness and provide information for students about ways to help care for the planet.

Junior Emily Harrast, co-chair of the committee, said the main focus of these events was to educate students about small ways they are able to help protect the planet, both on and off campus, and encourage them to take those steps. An event centered around recycling kicked off the festivities Friday.

“We felt that this event was important to bring about more information about recycling around Earth Day,” Harrast said in an email. “This year we brainstormed with the sustainability committee and decided that providing succulents would be a fun giveaway and a good way to encourage recycling.”

To allow for more robust conversation around sustainability and environmental awareness, Harrast said, the committee subsequently provided additional information about what is recyclable and hosted a talk on microplastics and their harmful effects.

“Microplastics are in many cosmetic products and have slowly become more problematic, so we felt that more information on them and how to avoid them in your everyday life would be helpful,” she said.

Sophomore and committee co-chair Kassidy Jungles said this is the second year the committee has hosted an Earth Day event.

“Last year, we hosted a similar event where participants planted flowers and enjoyed fun earth-themed snacks,” she said in an email. “In the past, we have also hosted ‘Paperless Day’ to raise awareness about paper waste on college campuses.”

Jungles said the committee was very pleased with the turnout to their events this year, calling them “extremely successful.”

“[The microplastics] discussion was also extremely engaging and we were able to teach students about this extremely prevalent and important issue,” she said.

Jungles said one of the committee’s main goals was “to raise awareness about ways to be more sustainable on campus and teach students how they can make earth-friendly decisions in their daily lives.”

“We ran out of succulents within the first 15 minutes and filled an entire large recycling bin of recyclable materials,” she said. “We also had students from another sustainable club on campus promote their club and raise awareness about climate change.”

This issue, Jungles said, is of utmost importance on campus because she believes it is college students’ responsibility to be aware of their environmental impact.

“The average college student produces 640 pounds of waste each year, 320 pounds of which is paper,” she said. “It is important that students know about recycling and ways that they can be more conscious of this not only in college but also for life beyond college.”

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