Earth Day Festival set for 11 a.m. on DuBois Lawn

By Chris Shores

MCT

Students hoping to celebrate Earth Day today need not look any further than the library lawn where a variety of campus organizations will gather together for the third annual Earth Day Festival, beginning at 11 a.m.

Claire Hopkins, interim secretary of sustainability for the University of Massachusetts Student Government Association, said the event was a way to “unify” the holiday.

“It’s a celebration of what we are doing on campus and shows how students can get involved,” she said.

The event is run by four main entities: Gardenshare, the Sustainability Initiative, the Eco-Reps and the Student Government Association. In addition, said Hopkins, a variety of other groups will be present, including MASSPIRG, UMass Dining Services and its new permaculture garden, Earthfoods, the People’s Market and the UMass Craft Center.

Students can come and tie-dye a shirt, which they will receive for free, Hopkins said. Students can also receive reusable bags and cups.

The Sustainability Initiative will do a miniature trash sort, similar to the larger one they did last fall. Another attraction provided by the initiative will be a “bike-powered smoothie maker,” said Hopkins.

According to the Facebook event (http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=166300650090085&index=1), live music will be played throughout the festival. There will also be raffles and chances to win prizes that include a bike, UMass supplies and gift cards.

There will also be chances to do community service at the festival. The Facebook page states that origami made at the event will be sold to raise money for relief efforts in Japan, following the countries massive earthquake back in March. Also, the page encourages students to bring old clothes and take part in a clothing swap, with remaining clothes items being donated to the Amherst Survival Center.

The College of Natural Sciences will be on hand to talk with students about a potential masters program in sustainability initiative that may soon be added to the University, said Hopkins. While nothing is official yet, Hopkins is hopeful progress can continue to be made and wants the word to begin to spread about the potential program.

Hopkins said that Gardenshare has hosted the Earth Day festival in past years, but that this event will hopefully be the largest. For her, the most important aspect of the event is that it can raise awareness of how students can become involved with sustainability.

“Some people have this conception of sustainability that ‘Oh, it’s just hippies,’ or ‘Oh, it’s just tree huggers,’” she said. “But … sustainability comes from so many areas of campus.”

Earth Day is celebrated each year on April 22 to commemorate the anniversary of a major environmental event held on that day in 1970, said EarthDay.org.

“Earth Day 1970 capitalized the emerging consciousness, channeling the energy of the anti-war protest movement and putting environmental concerns front and center,” the website states. “We invite you to be a part of Earth Day and help write more victories and successes into our history.”

Earth Day festivities at UMass begin at 11 a.m. and end at 3 p.m. on the library lawn.

Chris Shores can be reached at [email protected]