Earth Month 2016, Revisited

The end is nigh! No I am not referring to the end of life, existence, or the Blackhawks playoff run; however, Roosevelt University’s Earth Month Extravaganza 2016 has ended. There were so many interesting activities during this year’s Earth Month celebration that have challenged us to rethink how we fit into the overall system of life on the biosphere we affectionately call home.

 Earth Month events

We had several events and competitions during Earth Month, which included:

-Safe Cycling Demo

-Reuse Art Competition

-Outdoor Workday/Cleanup

-Environmental Justice Twitter Chat

-SUST 340 Teach-Ins

-Garden Planting/Recyclables Sorting Contest

-Arbor Day Observance

-Green Office Challenge

-Indoor Walking Course Competition

-Sustainability Studies Symposium

Projects like the Reuse Art competition, Green Office  competition, and recycling sorting contests prompted the RU  Community to consider what lifestyle changes individuals can make to be more sustainable, as well as what larger changes we can make as a community.  Other projects like the Teach-Ins lead by SUST 340 students and the Environmental Justice Twitter chat lead by Mike Bryson, the Director of the Sustainability Studies Program, illuminated the ins and outs of sustainability, social- environmental issues such as environmental justice, food waste, community sustainability and water quality.

The Schaumburg campus also played an important role in RU’s Earth Month Celebration. RU held an outdoor work day activity on April 18 in which volunteers from the RU community helped to beautify the campus by cleaning up old plant debris from last year, planting flowers in planters in the main courtyard and by picking up litter around the 27 acres that make up RU’s Schaumburg Campus. On Friday, April 22 the Schaumburg RU community, with the help of children from Bright Horizons Daycare, observed Arbor day by planting a native Ohio Buckeye tree. This planting is a segment of the ongoing tree removal and replacement plan that is currently being implemented at the Schaumburg Campus. Approximately 60 trees at the Schaumburg Campus have been infested, damaged and killed by the Emerald Ash Borer, among other pests and diseases. To halt the advance of the Ash Borer and to protect local wildlife, these diseased trees are being removed and replaced with native trees. The natives scheduled to be planted, such as the Ohio Buckeye and Swamp White Oak, not only can withstand the Borer’s onslaught, but will simultaneously support a larger community of native birds and insects.

These activities underscored that these issues aren’t individual, they affect our entire society, and as such we all have a part to play. So in the coming year let’s keep the lessons learned from Earth Month front and center and work together to make our lives more sustainable.

To stay involved with sustainability at Roosevelt visit our sustainability blogs at greencampusru@wordpress.com  and the Sustainability Studies blog run by Mike Bryson at http://blogs.roosevelt.edu/mbryson/.

Please feel free to attend RU’s Environmental Sustainability Committee (ESC) meetings to join faculty, staff, students and alumni to implement RU’s Five Year Sustainability Plan. Dates for ESC meetings are advertised via Roosevelt’s Broadcast, blogs and email blasts.

~Author Nicholas Waskowski, Environmental Sustainability Student Associate~

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