While many environmental supporters argue against Earth Day (everyday should be Earth Day), I like the day as it provides another opportunity to raise awareness. The day yielded some very positive results for Lasell College and our Green Campus Initiative. Professor Toffler's Introduction to Environmental Studies class and my Leadership class combined forces to plan the day.
While my vision of closing the road between the dining hall and the athletic center was rejected, we were still able to secure three parking spaces for our activities. One space was turned into a small park. In the park we had a bench and some vegetation. As this is the central corridor for foot traffic on campus, we wanted to promote awareness that the road could be turned into a green space for pedestrian use only. The two other spaces were reserved for hybrid car parking only. The drivers of these vehicles were thrilled to see a space reserved for them.
Students also ran the Tap Water Challenge. They challenged community members to taste three types of water and identify their favorite. Participants sampled tap water, Poland Spring, and Shaw's Brand water. The results were completely random. All three types of water received an equal number of votes.
We also collected sustainability pledges on Earth Day. People walking by were stopped and asked if they could pledge to do any of the following:
-For one day a week not drive to or between classes(students)/ not drive to work(faculty and staff
-To purchase/use a reusable coffee mug or water bottle rather than disposables
-To power down computer or TVs overnight/while you are not in your room
-To not eat meat one day per week
-Reuse plastic bags at least twice before disposing them
In total we collected pledges from 95 people. 57 people pledged not to drive one day per week. Of course this one was easy for all the students that don't have cars on campus. 40 people pledged to purchase and use a reusable mug or water bottle. 61 people pledged to power down the computer or TV overnight and while not in the room. 42 pledged not to eat meat one day per week and 52 pledged to reuse plastic bags. 41 people pledged more than 2 items. We will be sending emails to remind people of the pledges they have made and show our support.
Thanks to the Donahue Bookstore and Jennifer Tinkham we were able to award prizes to two students willing to make a sustainability pledge. Erica Choutka and Lindsay Ryan are now the proud owners of green Lasell College water bottles.
The day was a big success but credit has to be given to students in Leadership and Introduction to Environmental Studies. The energy they brought to the day made it work. Their willingness to stop fellow students and ask them to sign a pledge or participate in the challenge made the day a success. Great job!