In celebration of Earth Day’s 40th anniversary, the Associated Students Sustainability Committee hosted a week of events from April 13-16 that led to some of its highest student turnouts this year. A common thread throughout the week-which included events such as a workshop, documentary screening and panel discussion-was the clothing swap, with tables set up in the Quad each day of the “Earth Week” celebration.
During the clothing swap, participants were encouraged to bring items such as old T-shirts, jeans, sweatshirts and tank tops, in order to exchange them for “new” clothes contributed by other students and faculty.
Already popular, the event saw more interest and involvement than ever before, said Sustainability Committee Chair Nolan Pack.
“Students leave the clothing swap with the idea that you can get clothes elsewhere, other than at the mall or a store,” Pack said.
Though Earth Day is actually celebrated on April 22, a date that occurred over spring break, Pack says his committee decided to hold the weeklong event early to remind students of the national holiday.
The week kicked off in Galloway Plaza on April 13 with a workshop on plants native to Southern California, and the benefits of native plant gardening at home.
One interactive component taught attendees how to make seed balls-compacted spheres of seeds, soil and fertilizer material that one could throw anywhere in a garden or backyard, water, and wait for the plant to sprout.
A screening of “Maquilapolis” on the evening of April 14 turned out to be a big hit, with upwards of 60 audience members filling the Wi-Fi Lounge.
The documentary focused on the large-scale environmental damage and labor rights violations committed by multinational corporations in Tijuana, Mexico.
Two of the women featured in the film, former factory worker Carmen Valadez and workers’ rights advocate Carmen Duran, were present for an interactive-and at times deeply engrossing-dialogue after the film.
“Those that were in the film now [strive] to ensure that factory workers are fully informed about their rights,” said Sustainability Committee Co-Chair Jamie Hammond, “and help them fight against environmental, labor and health violations.”
The screening itself was a zero waste event, according to Pack. The food and drinks served during the screening were handed out in mugs and on plates purchased by the Sustainability Committee from local thrift stores.
As a result, the committee now has its own collection of reusable tableware.
Closing out the week’s scheduled festivities on April 15 was a concert in the Quad by the Morongo BirdSingers, an a cappella four-man group performing in the Cahuilla Indians’ Birdsinging tradition.
The soothing, primal tunes sung in their native language showcased songs centered on the Earth and wildlife.
According to Sustainability Committee member Krisha Jean, who organized the performance, one of the reasons they were invited to perform is because the tribe’s philosophy and cultural views were in line with the message projected during Earth Week.
“The topic of Earth Day reminded me of the worldview of many Native North Americans,” said Jean, “in which their culture sees humans and human actions as a part of nature, not just people who happen to live in nature.
“Many Native Americans see themselves as caretakers of the land,” she continued. “This is considered a privilege and therefore the land is treated with great respect.