This year’s Earth Week events were a huge success and I am proud to say that involvement increased from last year, and new faces got their hands dirty with fun events!
Monday, April 20th: A total of 9 students and faculty gathered for a small screening and panel discussion that revolved around the issue of plastic islands in the ocean. While films like this can sometimes bring people down as they realize all the work to be done out there, it also encompasses the opportunity to find strength in struggles and make changes in the way we do things. As we held a small panel discussion after the film, we brought up several themes seen in the movie and connected those themes to larger, ongoing issues, and focused on how we can harness energy in different ways and ultimately invoke change.
Tuesday, April 21st: Six RU students participated in the Kramer’s Health Foods Free Tasting & Seminar! Kramer’s is located just a few short blocks away from the RU Wabash building and they have been in the downtown area since 1936. Students at this event were able to try different juices and foods from the vegetarian café located upstairs of the storefront. Additionally, we were all able to learn about the benefits of juicing and cutting at least some meat out of one’s diet. After, a staff member of the Vegetarian Café gave us a bike maintenance and safety demonstration as well—which was extremely informative and from a biker’s point of view.
As the second event of the day, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago hosted a Chicago Bike Ambassadors Workshop. This event was open to Roosevelt, Colombia, and SAIC students. While I was the only student from RU to attend, the event had good turnout from SAIC. This event focused on safely riding your bike in Chicago, how to chain you bike up, and more.
Wednesday, April 22nd: There was great turn-out this day as students, staff, and faculty from around RU came to both support and listen to the internship experiences of four SUST students. There was pleasant hobnobbing and the presentations invoked curiosity and questions during Q & A.
Thursday, April 23rd: A total of 12 students were involved in the Rooftop Garden Workday in the following ways: cleaning up litter, pulling weeds, loosening up soil, putting together a trellis, and moving a couple of plots around. While it was chilly for part of the morning, the sun eventually came out and the crisp air was more than refreshing.
During the Garden and Games event later in the evening, five students participated. There was food, games, and more. We all went for the food, started decorating small pots with marker paint, filled them with soil, and planted different seeds to take home with us and watch grow. It was a fun and relaxing get together to be at, especially with finals approaching.
Friday, April 24th: On April 24th, 2015, in celebration of Arbor Day, a joyous and helpful group of kids, from Bright Horizons, helped plant 13 fruit trees next to the RUrban Pioneers Community Garden at the Schaumburg Campus. Bill Bedrossian from Bedrock Earthscapes did a remarkable job demonstrating the planting process and the kids had a great time digging, mulching, and watering. The permaculture food forest contains the following: Intrepid Peach, Redhaven Peach, 2 Montmonercy Cherry, a 2-In-1 Shiro & Redheart Plum, 2 Paw Paw, Starkling Delicious Pear, Moonglow Pear, Sunglow Nectarine, Candycrisp Apple, Suncrisp Apple, and Starcrimson Gala Apple.