Earth Day is Monday, April 22, and with it are many opportunities to show your commitment to sustainability. You can participate in campus initiatives and opportunities in the local Rochester community as well.
The Go Green Pledge encourages people to adopt environmentally friendly behaviors. The pledge is available to anyone associated with the University of Rochester, including students, faculty or staff members, and even community members. Signers of the pledge can select any number of actions, from simple things like turning off the lights when leaving a room, to going “meatless” at least once a week. So far, 2,345 people have taken the pledge.
University employees can keep track of their office consumption actions with the Green Office Guide. This guide has been condensed into a new user-friendly checklist with tasks for employees to check off as they are accomplished. Departments that check off 18 out of 23 tasks are eligible to receive a prize, by emailing the completed checklist to the Green Reps Program Coordinator at GreenReps@rochester.edu. University employees who are passionate about improving workplace sustainability can sign up to receive the Green Reps newsletter and become involved in the program here.
On campus, the annual EarthFest event will be held Saturday, April 20, from 11:30am – 5:00pm in Wilson Commons. EarthFest is full of activities and speakers organized by student sustainability group, Grassroots, in celebration of Earth Day. Some highlights this year include a presentation of conservation efforts from Braddock Bay Raptor Research, a local non-profit that rescues and rehabilitates birds of prey. Volunteers will be bringing several live birds. EarthFest attendants can also support sustainable fashion by donating to, or taking clothes from the clothing exchange. Participants will be eligible to win a reusable travel mug or a succulent. All events are co-sponsored by the Student Association of Vegan and Vegetarian Youth (SAVVY), special interest housing organization GreenSpace, and Facilities Team Green. More information about EarthFest is available on the Grassroots Facebook page here. The celebration will end with an annual campus tree planting on April 22, at 1:00pm.
University of Rochester Dining Services and Dining Team Green is holding Local Foods Week in celebration of Earth Day, from April 22 through April 26. The week is full of exciting events for students, faculty, and staff to try new, local foods. A few highlights include a kimchi and curtido tasting from Crooked Carrot, an Ithaca, New York based company, at Hillside Market on April 23. There will be a Danforth Iron Chef Lunch with Students’ Association Government on April 24, and a Douglass Classics of Rochester Lunch on Dandelion Day, April 26. Full details of Local Foods Week can be viewed here.
Next week provides opportunities to give back to the Earth around campus and in the wider community. At the Seneca Park Zoo, local organizations will be highlighting their efforts in sustainability on April 20. Visitors will receive a tree sapling or seeds for starting a butterfly garden. On the weekend of April 26-28, the NYS Canal Corporation and Parks & Trails New York will host the annual Canal Clean Sweep, which offers local residents a chance to clean up public land along the Erie Canal. Volunteers register a time and location, and then get to cleaning. Check out earthday.org for more local and global Earth Day-related events.
Through your efforts this upcoming Earth Day, we can make the University and the Rochester community a greener place to be.
Written by Isabel Lieberman, Class of 2021