Celebrate Earth Day 2016

As Earth Day 2016 approaches, the University of Rochester provides various opportunities for employees, faculty, and students alike to increase their environmental awareness.

One way employees can contribute is by getting involved in the Green Reps program. Green Reps serve as departmental champions for sustainability efforts. As ambassadors, liaisons, and teachers, Green Reps educate their departments on the University’s sustainability efforts and promote more sustainable practices within their operations. As a University-wide program, Green Reps represent a wide range of departments and units including Department of Linguistics, Department of Parking & Transportation Management, Strong Memorial Hospital Patient Care Services, Simon School Advancement, Department of Art and Art History, Department of Pharmacy, Center for Community Health, and many more.

Green Reps receive a monthly electronic newsletter The Compost, which includes information, tips, and ideas that can be shared to improve sustainable behaviors within a department.  It is up to each Green Rep to take that information and put it to good use within their department.

Lauren Caruso, assistant director of Rochester Center for Community Leadership and Green Reps Working Group member states, “People don’t have to go over the top and feel like they have to take on every single issue. Culture change and behavior change starts small sometimes. Really, there’s no minimum or maximum requirement for participation. We just want to meet people where they are.”

To sign up to be a Green Rep, visit the Green Reps website.

The Green Reps program was established by a working group of the University Council on Sustainability and is tied to the principals of the Go Green Pledge. To commemorate the seventh anniversary of its Earth Day 2009 founding, you can take the Go Green Pledge and encourage others to do the same. The Go Green Pledge is geared towards the small changes employees, faculty, and students can make to save energy and natural resources and help foster a more sustainable community.

Additionally, as of April 11, the student organization Grassroots began hosting Earth Day events for the student community. Events included an electricity-free open mic night, a clothing exchange, and a movie night with University of Rochester Cinema Group. The annual Grassroots EarthFest celebration held on April 16 served as a climax to a week of environmental-themed events and includes live performances, eco-friendly vendors, outdoor activities, and more.

This week until April 22, Grassroots is again holding its Earth Challenge. In the week leading up to Earth Day, participants receive a series of emails asking them to complete friendly environmental challenges. Participants can send in photos of themselves completing each task to be entered into a drawing for a chance to win a prize.

For more information about these events and activities, see the Grassroots Facebook page.

For more ideas on how to celebrate and honor Earth Day, see the April issue of The Compost.

However you choose to celebrate Earth Day at the University of Rochester, your contributions can help to improve sustainability on campus!

Have a happy Earth Day!

 

Written by Darya Nicol, Class of 2016

Photo Source: pexels.com

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