Earth Week kicks off this weekend and brings local food to campus

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In honor of Earth Week, Dining Services will be offering fresh, environmentally friendly food choices in Upper and West Dining Halls. U-Sustain will be holding events all week on topics of substantiability and the enviroment. (Courtesy of Stephanie Dick)

This Sunday, April 17, marks the first day of Earth Week 2016 at Union. Stephanie Dick ’16, co-Chair of Education and Outreach for U-Sustain, stated, “Earth Week is a celebration of caring about the environment more than a yearly reminder to be environmentally friendly.” With this attitude in mind, U-Sustain seeks to bring exciting events and programs, with a focus on the earth, to campus next week.

Dick shared, “Any opportunity to get people excited to learn and understand what we can be doing to help the environment on a daily basis is important. A good example of this is the Waste Collection Table we will have on Wednesday of the week. It is a one time educational effort aimed at helping show people where things like plastic bags can be properly recycled all the time! Earth Week falls during a beautiful time of year in the spring when it’s easy and fun to get people involved and excited!” Stephanie Dick and Meghan Haley-Quigley, Substantiability Coordinator, created the events for this Earth Week on campus. Various environmental groups on campus engaged with Dick and Haley-Quigley to guarantee a plethora of diverse events for this upcoming week.

Dick said, “Our goal is to bring together environmental groups from around campus to celebrate Earth Week! We want to create a celebration that everyone can take part in that raises awareness for a wide variety of environmental causes and issues.”

Dick also worked very closely with Jeff Kurto, Director of Dining Services, to coordinate the iCommit Campaign.

Dick said, “iCommit is a campaign put together through Dining with U-Sustain to collect environmentally friendly pledges!” They include “things such as ‘buy reusable water bottle to use’ or ‘unplug my chargers when they’re not in use’ or ‘always make sure my lights are off when I’m leaving.’”

Along with the campaign, Dick and Kurto worked together to bring local food into the dining halls for Earth Week. Some of these options include mac and cheese made from New York McCadam Cheddar Cheese, locally raised pork loin from NY Orchard Apples and Elba Farm onion and new potatoes.

This is not Dick’s first Earth Week on campus. She was in charge of organizing the week last year, but shared that she feels as if more clubs and campus groups are involved this year.

“It has been great to see everyone wanting to participate and plan events with their own clubs. Overall this year has been an awesome collaboration from around campus and I’m excited for Earth Week to start,” she shared.

Dick also had some very exciting news for students about this year’s Earth Week. “This year during our iCommit campaign we’re very lucky to have some prizes sponsored by Dining Services! Share your environmentally friendly pledge on Monday on social media with #unioncommits and you’ll be entered to win!”

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