Earth Day is coming up on Sunday, April 22, and in recognition, Portland State’s Environmental Club is hosting Earth Week, a weeklong celebration. Starting Monday, April 23, each day of Earth Week will have its own theme, ending with a final festival on Friday.
Earth Day is coming up on Sunday, April 22, and in recognition, Portland State’s Environmental Club is hosting Earth Week, a weeklong celebration. Starting Monday, April 16, each day of Earth Week will have its own theme, ending with a final festival on Friday.
“We’re using the old elements—earth, wind, water, fire and heart—as a way to narrow down the dialogue during each day,” said Kirk Rea, the club’s logistics coordinator. The first four days will consist of workshops, some sort of dialogue session, and films that will be followed by discussions.
Events that encourage discussion on sustainability comprise the majority of the week. The Sustainability Leadership Center, one of the many student groups participating in this year’s Earth Week, is hosting a couple of speakers to talk about race and sustainability. Additionally, the center will facilitate discussions on the topics.
The Sustainability Leadership Center will also table throughout the event. Club members are working with Earth Week organizers to find funds for the event from around the university and the community.
Heather Spalding, SLC outreach coordinator, said that the group paid for all of the posters hanging around campus that provide information about the week.
Rea added that posters have a QR code that students can scan with their smartphones, which will take students to a Google calendar showing a schedule of events.
Spalding said that besides wishing for nice weather, she’s most excited to see students finding the community, “I’d like to see Earth Day bring in a more general audience than just the regular sustainability crowd,” Spalding said. “And I think that every year the students who have an interest in sustainability become more diverse and more representative of our community.”
Like Spalding, geography junior David Nokovic emphasized student involvement in Earth Week. With a sarcastic tone, Nokovic used irony to make a point of how important this will be: “I don’t think it’s important for students to know about the environment. And I don’t think it’s important for them to learn about how to get involved in sustainability activities on campus,” Nokovic said. “I don’t think it’s important for people to have an event where they can focus on sustainability to check where we’re at as a campus, as a society, as a generation. And I really don’t think it’s important for people to have fun and connect in light-hearted ways to serious environmental issues,” he added sarcastically.
For students and community members who want a more hands-on approach, there will be many service projects going on throughout the week: removing invasive ivy and planting native vegetation, and working in the community orchard and garden on campus.
Friday will end the week with a festival, which will include food, music and a fashion show featuring clothes made completely out of recycled goods, among other activities. Student groups will be tabling and handing out seedlings, green cleaners and other environmentally friendly goodies. Many non-profit community members will also be tabling, offering students information about volunteer and work opportunities.
Earth Week is the biggest student-run event on campus. There are events for all students—no matter what their interests are—most of which are free.
“It’s a student event, and it’s put on by a bunch of student groups. Theoretically, it’s everyone here at PSU’s event, and it’s a huge success year after year,” said 31-year-old community development major Inna Levin. “They should have the opportunity to enjoy feeling proud of that success.”
The Environmental Club is located in the basement of Smith Memorial Student Union, room 28, next to Food for Thought Café. Members call it “The Green Space.”
“We serve as sort of an informational hub. There’s a lot of people that come in this space that are involved in lots of different environmental and sustainable activities,” said 21-year-old Spanish major Anthony Foster. “It’s a very broad scope of what we consider to be part of our mission. It’s a great place for if you want to join Environmental Club to just network, and find out cool ways to share your enthusiasm for the world.”