| 03.18.2018

‘Getting Dirty’ for Earth Day

UI Sustainability Center hosts monthlong Earth Fest

At the University of Idaho, Earth Day transcends its usual 24-hour time constraint.

According to Stevie Steely, UI Sustainability Center projects coordinator, it’s a whole month of raising awareness and encouraging sustainability efforts on campus and in the community through a variety of activities. 

Steely said although the Sustainability Center has already put on several events during the month of April, there are still many more activities throughout the rest of the month.

Steely said more areas pertain to sustainability than most people think, and the next event combines sustainability with UI professors and their passions through a TED-style speaker series about interdisciplinary work throughout campus.

“It gives UI faculty and staff a chance to tell what they do and why they do it, how it affects the UI campus, the Moscow community and how it links to sustainability,” Steely said.

Steely said the presentations are only about 20 minutes long ­– so they’re short, sweet, engaging and accessible.

Dubbed the UIdeas Symposium, the professor-focused event will take place from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Friday in the Clearwater-Whitewater rooms of the Idaho Commons. UIdeas is in its third year, and Steely said it gives students, faculty and community members the opportunity to hear about how professors’ interests collide with sustainability.

The symposium will include speakers Cinda Williams from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, Helen Brown from the Department of Movement Sciences in the College of Education and Jamie Derrick from the Department of Psychology and Communication Studies. Participating professors were nominated by students in October.

“It’s not just about sustainability,” Steely said. “We want to get to know our professors, faculty and staff on another level, like what made them do what they do, what got them there.”

One of the most interesting things about the UIdeas Symposium, Steely said, is getting to know how different professors were encouraged by a variety of things and how their interests changed throughout the years.

The event usually draws between 150 and 200 people, Steely said, and students are encouraged to bring their moms along because it takes place during Moms’ Weekend. Refreshments and hors d’oeuvres will be served, and everyone is welcome to stay and mingle after the talks.

Earlier this month, the Sustainability Center hosted a showing of the movie “No Impact Man,” which chronicles a Manhattan man who decided to live with zero impact on the environment, going as far as to use no electricity.

The man in the film serves as an inspiration for the upcoming UI No Impact Week, said Amaya Amigo, Sustainability Center events’ coordinator. Every day Monday through Friday, the Sustainability Center will hold a different event to encourage students to live a life of minimal environmental impact. Amigo said students may also sign up to receive emailed challenges about how to be more sustainable in their daily lives.

A full schedule of all events can be found online, and events continue until the end of the month.

One event Amigo is especially excited for is the Conscious Campus Road Tour from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Commons plaza. For this event, teenagers travel around the country doing demonstrations and giving out samples of products such as tea, lotion and snacks. The purpose of the event is to get students thinking about what goes into the food they’re purchasing, Amigo said.

“It’s to convert students from conventional to conscious,” Amigo said.

The Sustainability Center is also offering volunteer opportunities every weekend, including Get Dirty from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, where volunteers will help a student-run farm prepare for spring.

Steely encourages students to come to any of the events, because they’re educational, interesting and a lot of fun.

“It gives you a broader perspective of our community,” Steely said. “But it also lets our community build connections with each other.”

Sustainability Center Student Director Kaitlyn Martin said students should take advantage of the opportunities the center is providing this month.

“I’m a big believer in getting involved and making the most out of your college experience, which includes going to all sorts of different events,” Martin said. “We have so many things from so many different places, and we’re trying to expose students to all the different things going on.”

Kelsey Stevenson can be reached at arg-news@uidaho.edu

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