This was a busy semester for Earth Emerson and those involved with sustainability on our campus! Let’s take a moment to look back at the accomplishments, the challenges and the adventures from this spring.
1) The semester started off with the Recyclemania competition, which came to a close on March 28th. Many Earth Emerson members helped rally students and faculty to commit to reducing their waste by taking a pledge and getting a green thumb. (See caption to the right.) Emerson finished with a 25.4% weekly recycling rate and about 10 lbs. per capita. Considering the size of our school, next year we hope to do better!
2) Movie nights were particularly successful this year, often combining a screening with a related campaign and guest speaker.
Our first movie night was on February 4th, where we watched Tiny: A Story About Living Small.
Our second movie night was the Real Food Challenge Kick-Off event, which introduced students to the program soon to be implemented at Emerson. We recruited other students to form part of the core team who will help us to make this campaign happen. Drew Love, the regional campus coordinator for Real Food Challenge taught students about where our food comes from, what “real” food is, and what we can do to change our food system, with interactive activities and discussions. It was then followed by a screening of Fed Up. The Real Food Challenge will be moving forward next year with further student leadership.
Our last movie night was an Earth Day celebratory screening of BBC’s hit series Planet Earth, Episode 1.
3) Earth Emerson took part in helping local- nonprofit Environment Massachusetts with their “Solar Action Days,” on March 5th and 27th. It was a state-wide campaign event that over 60 students from 16 colleges and universities participated in. 277 small-business sign-ons were collected and went towards an overall total of 564 businesses. Earth Emerson contributed over 15 signed letters. The goal was met, and the letter urging Governor Baker to support 20% solar by 2025 was delivered as part of Environment Massachusetts’ Stand Up for Solar lobby day.
4) We can not forget the Emerson Green Art’s first ever Green Gala, that took place in the Paramount on April 2nd. It was a night filled with green-themed student performances, dances, comedy, poetry and, of course, vegan food. Earth Emerson was very grateful to have a table in the front lobby with other student groups, such as the Garden Committee, and the Real Food Challenge. We were able to talk with students and encourage them to get involved with Emerson sustainability.
5) On April 25th, Earth Emerson reached out to our local Boston community and participated in the annual Charles River Clean Up on the Esplanade. Four of our members pulled on rubber gloves, got our nets and our garbage pickers, and spent the morning collecting trash from the water edges and walk ways. It was a very rewarding way to spend a beautiful morning outside. (And we even saved a fish that was stuck inside of a plastic bag in the river!)
6) Our signature biannual event: Vegan Food Fest! On Wednesday, April 29th we put on one of our most successful fests, with donations from Veggie Galaxy, My Thai Vegan Cafe, Boloco, Georgetown Cupcakes, and tote bags from Sweet Green. Our guest speaker Angelique Rivard from Lighter Culture, a start-up vegan food delivery organization, spoke about the environmental benefits of a plant-based diet and did a vegan cooking demonstration. Students had the opportunity to participate in the discussion, help Angelique prepare vegan Pad Thai, and fill their stomachs with vegan food from local Boston restaurants.
7) Our last Earth Em adventure of the semester was a hike up Mount Greylock, the highest peak in Massachusetts. On Saturday, May 3rd a group of us were lead on a 5 mile up-hill climb by Fitness Center employee Chris Mccomb. Mount Greylock stands tall at 3,491 foot elevation, right outside Adams, MA. It was a gorgeous day spent appreciating nature and seeing a spectacular view of the Appalachian Mountains from the top.
A special thanks to Chris and the Emerson Fitness Center for providing the van.
There are more pictures and fun stuff on our Facebook and Twitter page.
I’d like to thank everyone who took part in Earth Emerson’s events this semester. Whether you helped organize, spread the word, campaign, or if you showed up to a movie night or came to Vegan Food Fest, your participation and contributions are truly appreciated and never go unnoticed. Emerson is a place in need of more sustainable thinking and action. Every effort that you make to be environmentally aware is a light in our campus community. Don’t forget how important small actions can be; like recycling a bottle or turning off a light switch. Every change causes a ripple effect, no matter how tiny or great. So, for that, I thank you.
Have a fantastic summer and see you in the fall!
Jessica Colarossi, Earth Emerson Co-President