UMass hosts annual Earth Day Festival

‘We are highlighting what students can do to reduce food waste on campus’


Nina Walat/Collegian

By Cassie McGrath, Assistant News Editor

The University of Massachusetts hosted its annual Earth Day Festival on Goodell Lawn, where environmentally-friendly organizations represented their missions.

This year, the Earth Day Network’s global campaign was Protect our Species, a project committed to raising awareness about extinction, advocating for green policies, building a global movement that “embraces nature and its values” and inspires individuals to follow a sustainable diet.

Sophomore natural resource conservation major Skylar Roach said that she attended “to represent the Forestry Club and raise awareness that we exist.” The Forestry Club helps people understand the importance of forestry and looks to get the public involved in natural resource conservation.

Other organizations represented included the UMass Student Farm, Valley Bike, Citizens Climate Lobby, UMass Baking Club and the Fernald Club.

The Fernald Club is an association dedicated to entomology. They pursue the conservation of insects and the promotion of the importance of pollinators in local ecology.

Representatives from the Sustainability Office tabled at the festival as well. They are currently working to audit UMass to receive information about food conservation at the school.

Rack City Thrift, a pop-up thrift store, made an appearance selling clothing and jewelry that was donated to them.

“It’s a good way to celebrate Earth Day and do something positive for the community,” said senior BDIC major Michelle Piscopo. Rack City Thrift has plans to open a permanent shop in Flint Laboratory.

Students could also drink free smoothies and make plants for their dorm rooms at the event.

MASSPIRG, Sustainability Projects Abroad and the Food Recovery Network were also all looking to speak about their projects.

The UMass Permaculture Initiative came out to talk about conservation and sell some of the products they grow in the campus gardens. They sell food products, and their most popular products include local and organic ingredients, including calendula flowers.

Representatives from the Center for EcoTechnology, an environmental nonprofit, had a table to discuss energy and resource reduction, recycling and other sustainability issues. CET looks to help “people and businesses save energy and reduce waste,” according to the organization’s website.

“We work with partners throughout the country to address climate change by transforming the way we live and work – for a better community, economy and environment,” the website reads. “For more than 40 years, our innovative non-profit organization has offered practical solutions to save money, increase the health and comfort of our homes and help businesses perform better.”

Morgan Laner, an EcoFellow at CET, said living green can be difficult for students in college, so she was looking to provide students with information on how to do so.

“We are highlighting what students can do to reduce food waste on campus,” Laner said.

“UMass has an active sustainability office. Food service is interested and engaged in sustainability,” she added.

Cassie McGrath can be reached at [email protected] or followed on Twitter @cassiemcgrath_.