By Analeigh Hughes
This university’s annual Earth Day Festival was held April 16.
The event, which is hosted by UMD Student Government Association Student Sustainability Committee, featured tables from almost 30 environment and sustainability-centered organizations, live performances and a bicycle students pedaled to power a blender that made smoothies.
“Education is the biggest part of environment and sustainability, so teaching people about what the issues are and what we’re doing to the environment, what they can do to help out and being visible is the most important thing you can do,” said SGA Director of Sustainability, Willem Klajbor, a senior environmental science and policy and economics double major.
Although the festival is good for student outreach, Klajbor said it is also a good opportunity for “other sustainability-oriented groups to showcase what they’ve been up to.”
Along with various student groups, local nonprofits, MaryPIRG and voter registration also had tables.
While this is the Student Sustainability Committee’s main event, the committee stays busy the rest of the year.
“We’re mostly just advocating for issues on and off campus that further sustainability for students in College Park,” Klajbor said. “So we’re working on legislation, working with city council and sometimes even the state government to pass legislation that helps out the students and then working with administration to pass policies on campus that further sustainability.”
Senior animal science major Kayla Harvey attended the event for her first time as a representative of The Wildlife Society. The organization, which is a chapter of a national group, helps campus green roofs, local parks and with invasive species removal. They also bring in professionals in the industry to speak to students.
Harvey said she thinks while the university is good about recycling and composting, it could do more to get the community involved in environmental and sustainability efforts.
She said the Earth Day Festival was important because “a lot of people probably don’t know the environmental organizations we have on campus that you could be involved in.”
Lekha Tantry, a sophomore math and secondary math education major, found out about the event when her friend shared it with her on Facebook. She said she was enjoying the event and was learning new things, like veganism is not as sustainable as vegetarianism.
“I think I’m going to do research on it because I know a few things about how soy milk and other things aren’t as sustainable as regular milk,” Tantry said.
Going forward, Tantry said she would be interested in getting involved in environment and sustainability-centric organizations.
“It seems really cool,” she said. “I didn’t know there were this many organizations on campus regarding sustainability.”
Featured Photo Credit: SGA’s annual Earth Day Festival (Analeigh Hughes/ Bloc Reporter)
Analeigh Hughes is a sophomore journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.