Many registered student organizations are planning to implement programs aiming to promote sustainability on campus during Earth Week, which is April 22-26.
Emma Kreutzer, the traditions chair of University Programs, is in charge of the Earth Day Fair on campus and will have over 30 groups on and off campus sharing information about sustainability and moderating interactive activities for students, she said.
Some of these activities include pot painting, a henna tattoo station and various lawn games, Kreutzer said. They will also have free succulents, watermelons and reusable mugs available for anyone who wants them.
The Office of Sustainability is hosting a trail cleanup at Oak Ridge Trail between the Sam M. Walton College of Business and Clinton Street, from 4 p.m.-5 p.m. on Tuesday, said Sarah Ames, a graduate student and intern at the Office of Sustainability. The Young Democrats will be collaborating with the Honors College on a panel, as well.
“Celebrating Earth Day on campus is important because it makes students aware of environmental issues and shows them ways that we can fix them,” Kreutzer said.
Whether it is planting a pollinator-friendly seed mixture in their garden or using a biodegradable spoon for their food, trying to mix education on sustainability with fun activities is important in the celebration, Kreutzer said.
For the Earth Day Fair, University Programs will have a sign up on Givepulse if volunteers want to help out with the activities. For other Earth Week events, students can talk to the Office of Sustainability and they can connect them to the specific groups that are putting on events, Kreutzer said.
On Monday of Earth Week, The Razorback Food Recovery is having a food waste panel from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Pryor Center and then University Programs and the Office of Sustainability are putting on the Earth Day Fair from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., where about 26 different organizations will be attending, Ames said. At 4 p.m., Victoria Herrmann from the Arctic Institute will present a lecture in Vol Walker Hall about climate change, which will have two receptions afterward. At 5 p.m., there will be a mountain bike skills class at Oak Ridge Trail.
Sophomore Sophie Hill, the director of Sustainability for the Residents' Interhall Congress (RIC), an organization that aims to improve the quality of life for on-campus students, will be tabling in front of the Arkansas Union during Earth Week, she said.
Hill, along with other members of the RIC, wants to provide information on how to minimize waste while living on campus and how to reduce carbon footprints as college students, she said.
“It is really just about being aware and willing to put in the extra effort to create a better campus and a better world overall. Every effort counts, even the small ones,” Hill said.
The Office for Sustainability has many resources to get involved, Hill said. Some of these include Net Impact, an RSO that focuses on sustainability in professional careers, horticulture club and Young Democrats. There are also volunteer programs that have sustainability as a primary or secondary initiative like Razorback Food Recovery, which diverts food waste by donating leftover food to homeless shelters.
Sophomore Patrick Dougherty, who is majoring in industrial engineering, is the president of Net Impact, an international nonprofit organization that supports sustainability initiatives through business skills, he said. Dougherty really wants to show the student body why sustainability is something they should be interested in and he thinks students have a really great opportunity at the UofA and in Northwest Arkansas because it serves as a beacon of sustainability for the rest of the state.
Net Impact is setting up a trail mix station at the block party on Monday of Earth Week, Dougherty said. They want to give students the opportunity to enjoy some nice, locally and sustainably sourced food options. They are also planning to have an event where they discuss climate change.
“We want to foster that sense of cooperation and encouragement to really get students interested in something that we believe is going to be very important for the rest of our lives, so that is our main goal,” Dougherty said.