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Tri-campus celebrates Earth Day with a focus on sustainability

| Thursday, April 22, 2021

Thursday, April 22 celebrates the 51st anniversary of Earth Day. In acknowledgement of the day, clubs at both Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s have organized events to discuss awareness and appreciation for the environment.

EcoBelles, an environmentally focused club at Saint Mary’s, is putting on a week-long event called Earth Week that has collaborated with many on-campus departments, including Campus Ministry, OCSE, SGA, SDV, ENVS, Theatre and Mission.

Courtesy of Melissa Bialko
Saint Mary’s College is hosting its annual Earth Week April 17-24.

Earth Week started Saturday, April 17 and will end Saturday, April 24. Events included volunteering at a sustainable farm, eco trivia, outdoor mass on the grass, bird-watching bingo and an on-campus unity garden.

EcoBelles coordinator Melissa Bialko hopes that the College community stays informed on climate issues and makes proactive change.

“The planet is in crisis and we must work hard and together to make changes. The best way to do that is to lead by example and create a culture of change, as with any social or environmental issue,” Bialko said.

On Earth Day, the University Student Union Board (SUB) will host a planting event from 3:30-5:30 p.m. near Clarke Memorial Fountain on North Quad.

Junior Gabrielle Huggins from SUB said the event is meant to give people an opportunity to celebrate Earth Day by grabbing a pot, painting it, putting some soil in it and planting some flower seeds.

“I want students to think about Earth Day and what it means to them and this might be just a fun way to implement that,” Huggins said, “and taking the initiative to do it themselves to be more cognizant of what it really means to appreciate the Earth.”

Students will be able to take the potted seeds back to their dorms and enjoy free food distributed by SUB as well.

The day after Earth Day, GreeND will be hosting its annual event Sustainability Fest in collaboration with other groups such as the Sustainability minor, Office of Sustainability, Unity Gardens and BeeND. It will take place 4-6 p.m. near on South Quad near O’Shaughnessy Hall.

Courtesy of Anna Medrano
GreeND is sponsoring Earth Day events at the University this year with a sustainability fest Friday.

Sophomore and vice president of events in GreeND Anna Medrano said that Sustainability Fest’s focus for the year is on sustainability education. Medrano mentioned that the theme aligns with the Sustainability Cup put on this month by the Office of Sustainability.

“We will be having a bunch of tables including trivia and prize table, fast fashion education table, climate change and covid table, area climate table and climate footprint table,” Medrano said.

Medrano particularly emphasized wanting students to learn about how sustainability works on campus especially in regard to COVID-19.

“I also want for students to realize the severity of climate change and anthropogenic activity on the planet,” Medrano said. “If more people were awakened to how severe the problem is then we will be able to enact change more quickly and people would be more open to the idea of change.”

Senior and president of GreeND Maureen Shacklette added that the event additionally serves as an opportunity for students to learn about opportunities relating to the environment and sustainability on campus.

“Everything sustainability related on campus is in one place and so, if you’re at all interested in sustainability or the environment and you’re curious about what options there are … you would learn so much about on campus sustainability,” Shacklette said.

Bialko explains how good habits are adopted when approached methodically and at a reasonable pace.

“I urge people to challenge themselves to make one small change at a time, every semester, season, year or whatever time frame works well for their mind and body … And by doing so, we influence others to do the same.”

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