Earth Day celebrated for the first time in Student Center

By Gus Bode

The social hub of campus got its first taste Wednesday of a day many shrug off but one activist said truly speaks to its student’s values.

The Student Center celebrated Earth Day for the first time Wednesday, complete with live music with an environmental theme and a variety of stands encouraging simple, environmentally friendly behaviors.

Featured speaker Josh Dorfman, author of a series of books and a Sundance TV show dubbed ‘The Lazy Environmentalist’ that teaches people easy ways to ‘go green without trying,’ said students can easily embrace the message of the day.


‘It just makes sense for college kids,’ Dorfman said. ‘It’s like, ‘Right, we’re coming into this world and the people before us, to some extent, really screwed it up for us. But we have a responsibility to be smarter.”

The day began in 1970 as a grassroots movement to share information and spread awareness on environmental issues. Although the day has been celebrated for nearly 40 years, many still are not aware of its main issues, Dorfman said.

Multiple students said they recycled, but only because they’d been raised that way.

Shane McCoy, a senior from Chicago studying speech communication, said many think of recycling or keeping trash off the ground as the cornerstones of environmentally friendly behavior, but it involves more than that.

‘I don’t think they have that knowledge because the awareness isn’t reaching them,’ he said. ‘I don’t believe they’ve even thought about ‘going green.”

Students should be excited about the university’s efforts to become more eco-friendly because it could save them money, said Lori Stettler, the director of the Student Center.

Coordinator of Recycling and Solid Waste Andilee Warner said the university is leading other universities in post-consumer food waste reduction research.’ Excess food from the dining halls, which weighs between 500 and 1,000 pounds daily, is taken to a worm farm for the College of Agriculture’s research projects.


‘The more that we can keep our costs in check by conserving energy means that that’s less that we have to go back and ask the students for,’ Stettler said.

Susan Coriasco, deputy director of the Student Center, said the Student Center is taking subtle action with the green movement by posting signs near light switches asking people to turn them off. It’s these ‘baby steps,’ she said, that could make a difference in the big picture.

‘Going green’ has caught fire in recent years because people and companies were willing to take those baby steps and are continuing to build on them, Dorfman said.

‘Change is hard and we’re all a bit lazy, so the more you can make change easy and affordable and really accessible, the more likely people are to do it,’ he said.

Coriasco said the disposable generation has long gone and been replaced with eco-friendly technology, such as e-mails and geothermic energy.

John Dyer, co-coordinator for student environmental group Eco-Dawgs, said being environmentally friendly could save students money as well as provide them with a healthier lifestyle and a chance to get involved.

‘You can be what I like to call a global citizen, where your actions locally effect conditions globally, like global warming,’ Dyer said. ‘The future is ours to create and it’s going to require us to change.’