Earth Week 2013—How YOU Can Get Involved

Patricia Oprea

According to some individuals, recycling and being environmentally conscious (the barren Bixler/Botwinik quad comes to mind) may not seem to be a priority for administrators of the university. Certain organizations and students, however, care quite a bit about how green the university is, and how it can continue to become more eco-friendly.

This year, USGA senator Joshua Howard sparked the initiative to form a much-needed sector of USGA—the Sustainability Committee. Howard and freshman Patricia Oprea are co-chairs of this committee and since its creation, there has been a noticeably improved campus awareness of “green” matters. At the beginning of the spring 2013 semester, the group distributed a petition for increased and improved recycling both on and off campus.

A few weeks ago, Howard and Oprea met with some university Deans, faculty, staff and professors who were interested in making the campus more environmentally conscious. This semester, the Sustainability Committee is focusing efforts on making Earth Week an informative and interactive time for students at UNH.

The Sustainability Committee’s first event was Monday, April 22. This featured a table from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Bartels Programming Space with information about how to be more eco-friendly, and handouts ranging from recycled pencils to foldable water bottles.

At 4:30 p.m. in Dodds Theater, the “Green Living Guy,” Seth Leightman, came to share his area of expertise—our environment—and its ups and downs. Food was available, and gift cards and an Android tablet was raffled off.

At 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 22, the Committee had another speaker in Dodds Theater. Bill Duesing discussed food and its impact on the environment. Gift cards and an Android tablet were raffled off at this event, too. At 8 p.m. in the Quad, there was a showing of the Disney Movie Oceans, along with food and a gift-card giveaway.

Reusing and recycling is also important in terms of art, and the Committee is hosting an arts and crafts night on Wednesday, April 24, in the Programming Space from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Newspaper, magazines, soda bottles and paint are going to be provided to make a painting or collage on canvas. At 8 p.m., a second movie will be shown in the Quad—The Eleventh Hour. Now, this film is nowhere near as heartwarming as Oceans, but instead shows the true reality of where the world and its environment is headed, and how we as highly-developed humans do have the capacity to turn things around. The Eleventh Hour is meant to raise awareness on why “reuse, reduce, and recycle” needs to be not just a motto, but also a lifestyle.

From 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, the Sustainability Committee will focus on how the food people consume impacts the environment. Free trade and organic chocolate (meaning there was no middleman to overcharge farmers on their product, and no chemicals added to the chocolate) will be given out at a table in the Programming Space. Organic apples are going to be handed out, as well as informational postcards about eating with the environment in mind.

The UNH Green team will close off Thursday night with a movie showing of Last Call At the Oasis at 8 p.m. in Bartels. Water is the most essential piece to sustaining human life, and this documentary shows the truth behind H2O in society, arguing that water will soon be a major issue.

Saturday, April 27, Sustainability Committee will end their Earth Week events with an all-day kayaking trip in upstate New York. Overwhelming interest was displayed for the trip, and signups filled within a few minutes. For those who did not make it onto the trip, Green Team and SCOPE are hosting a bonsai tree-planting event in the Quad from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

If you have free time during the upcoming week, check out these events, grab some freebies and find out about the multiple facets of the ever-present environmental cause.