With over 200 members, Culver Academies’ Green Life Club wanted to do something big this year to raise community awareness about environmental sustainability issues while having fun in the process. So, instead of celebrating Earth Day, the club organized “Green Week” from April 18-22.
Each day the club focused on a different sustainability issue. Monday became “Meatless Monday,” which brought attention to both food waste issues as well as the use of resources and the health costs of a meat-heavy diet.
Monday also featured the beginning of an ongoing slideshow and poster display in the dining hall covering sustainability and environment impact issues.
Tuesday was “Wildlife Wasteland,” better known as “Trash Tuesday.” Green Life members, working with Culver facilities staff, collected all the garbage generated over the course of the day and separated it into two piles – recycling and trash. The piles, stacked in front of the Lay Student Center, served as a visual reminder of the amount of trash generated on campus each day.
Green Life switched to service-oriented activities on Wednesday. Thirty members cleaned the “Indian Trails” between the Academies and the Culver Town Park.
Thursday featured a student-organized “Lights Out” campaign. Lights were dimmed in classrooms, living units, and the Lay Dining Hall from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. to demonstrate how electrical use on campus could be conserved.
The opportunity to educate the community on various environmental issues was great!
Friday evening was “movie night,” as club co-president Stephanie Ma ’16 (Indianapolis) organized her senior service project around environmental restoration. She showed the documentary Green Gold which describes large scale landscape restoration efforts around the world. The Global Studies Institute sponsored a meal, and following the film, students Skyped with the film’s director John Liu (who was in China at the time).
Several students gathered over the weekend to plant a butterfly garden on the south side of the Roberts Hall of Science. It will serve as a demonstration project to show how native plants can be integrated on Culver’s campus.
Ma believed the first Green Week had mixed results. “The opportunity to educate the community on various environmental issues was great! I’m so glad it was established and most people knew about the events,” she said. “I wish there was more student involvement with the various events planned. But all in all, I’m proud of the work that was done.”
For co-president Ethan Carter ’16 (Aurora, Colo.), the week was meant to help students see how individual actions – repeated many times over – can have a major environmental impact.
“Leaving on the lights, throwing away recyclables, or eating a simple hamburger are all things that, as an individual, won’t affect the environment but humans as a collective repeating these somewhat mundane tasks has far greater repercussions,” he said. “If we were able to bring a handful of people to this realization then I would say that we were successful.”
Check out more information on Culver Academies sustainability work.