This Friday marks the thirteenth celebration of Earth Day on Tech’s campus. With environmental conscientiousness a growing concern nationally and at Tech green issues are enjoying more visibility and enjoying more practical impacts.
The week features several events that aim to educate and inform the community about ways to become environmentally friendly and week’s finale is the Earth Day celebration at the Campanile on Friday, April 23 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m..
The Earth Day celebration at Tech is one of the largest celebrations in the Southeast and this year the event will be the largest yet. It will include 72 booths that will provide information to students and faculty about including “green” practices in their everyday lives.
“We really wanted to make it interactive and make it a fun event for students, faculty and staff. We want them to take that information [from Earth Day] and use it in their personal lives,” said Cindy Jackson, Manager of Solid Waste Management and Recycling at Tech and the main organizer of the Think Green Week and Earth Day activities.
The aid in the goal of creating an event that is entertaining and informative, the celebration will have two bands performing on Friday. There is also a plethora of events that students can partake in to learn more about green initiatives.
Among those activities is “Shoot the Shoes,” which allows students to bring in their old sneakers to throw through the basketball hoop set up at the Campanile and then donate the shoes to the Nike Grind project-a project that deconstructs used tennis shoes and then grinds the material to create new athletic surfaces like playgrounds and tracks.
The day will also provide students the opportunity to participate in many recycling activities like a clothing swap and an office supply exchange. Also, all of the food served at the Earth Day celebration will be served in biodegradable materials and all of the extra food will be composted through Sodexo’s compost program. The committee of Earth Day aims to create zero waste during the event.
There were also many events that took place over the week to celebrate Think Green Week. This is the third year of the week where green-minded occurrences are scheduled around campus. Think Green Week stretched into a week long event three years ago when many people and sponsors suggested to Jackson that they spend an entire week informing others about environmentally friendly subjects.
The Green Rally, held on Monday, April 19, was the kick-off event for the week and there were several “freebies” for students that took part in pledging to go “green” in 2010. The giveaways included compact fluorescent light bulbs, totes and reusable water bottles.
An eco-fashion show was held on Tuesday to showcase fashionable outfits that were made using renewable materials or re-used clothing. Most of the re-used clothing was donated from the Salvation Army and eco-designers featured their clothing on the catwalk on the student commons stage.
Institute president G.P. “Bud” Peterson’s wife, Val Peterson, even took part in the festivities this week by modeling in the fashion show and wearing the shawl she created from remnants of unused garments. Peterson included special details like beading and a button from her great-grandmother’s dress that she wore when she came to America for the first time from Holland.
Wednesday featured a meet and greet with the artists of the Garden of Growth installations located in the grassy area next to the Campanile. The installations were created by Georgia State art students and were constructed using only recyclable materials.
“[The] whole concept was to take recyclables from Tech and take that waste and create sculptures that stand for the week and then get recycled,” said Jackson.
Students were the main initiators of contact between collaboration projects at other schools. Students from Georgia State, Emory and Morehouse are expected to attend the event.
“Another mission of the Earth Day Committee is to reach out into the greater community, so I looked to involve as many groups from inside and outside of Tech as possible. I was fortunate in discovering renowned found-object/sustainable artist Pam Longobardi, who is an art professor at Georgia State, for she not only helped me shape the idea but she also offered the support of her “Public Installations” art class. As such, about 20 GSU art students collaborated with GT students to build some truly incredible and beautiful sculptures,” said Chris Olson, fourth-year IsyE and member of the Earth Day committee.
Think Green Week even featured a film on Thursday called, Coal Country, that highlights what happened to the environment in Appalachia during the coal mining process in the area.
Think Green Week and the Earth Day celebration had several sponsors, all of which are located on the website, .
Other than the committee that led the project, the Environmental Alliance at Georgia Tech (EAGT), Student Organization for Sustainability (SOS) and the SGA Sustainability Task Force were instrumental in helping create and organize all of the events.