Campus response to Earth Day feels highly lackluster
April 23, 2015
Earth Day was first recognized in the U.S. in 1970; since then, it has expanded from one day to an entire week: Earth Week.
Four UW-River Falls student organizations were actively involved with planning Earth Week events: the Agriculture Club, the Environmental Corps of Sustainability, the Student Alliance for Local and Sustainable Agriculture and the Resource Management Club. Many events were planned and some fell through.
The Kinni River Land Trust, a River Falls community organization, cleaned up the Kinnikinnic River over the course of a day, and students gladly cleanup trash around campus and posted fliers.
Earth Day is more than acknowledging the sun’s warmth, walking around on grass for a couple minutes or getting your feet wet, it’s purpose is raising awareness and setting off good habits for the rest of the year until the next reminder.
UWRF followed up a successful and fitting end to the TEDx talk about sustainability with only a simple three-word recognition, “Happy Earth Day,” in the Falcon Daily and on the university’s Facebook page. Besides this small mention, our institution as a whole largely failed to acknowledge this important event.
Social media is always a great way to reach a large group of people quickly and easily, especially for events, and certainly something more than “Happy Earth Day” could have been accomplished. Other UW System schools brought in guest speakers. UW-Madison, for example, brought in astrophysicist and educator Neil De Grasse Tyson.
“Ag Day,” organized and planned by the Collegiate Farm Bureau and described as a “slow moving ag-venture” on its event poster, moved its outdoor events to Tuesday, April 28, due to inclement weather, thus moving it out of the Earth Week range.
This year’s collection of events was a reduction from years past. For obvious reasons, numerous financial questions are being asked and actions are being taken due to increasing budget cut proposal realities. Point being, events and implementing sustainable practices do cost money. But the Student Voice staff would like to urge the university and its students to continue to be mindful of Earth and to appreciate the fact that there is a planet in our solar system that actually supports us.
We suggest that UWRF implements some sort of sustainability day, campus-wide, which would improve awareness around this campus. The Voice also hopes that next year’s Earth Week isn’t as lackluster. A simple 30-minute event or presentation would go a long way.