Earth Day consumes Carbondale

By Tyler Davis, @TDavis_DE

Small children holding large puppets, artistic sculptures and a dance flash mob were all a part of the sights on and around campus for Earth Day.

Earth Day, an annual worldwide celebration of environmental protection on April 22, was recognized with 10 events by various Registered Student Organizations in Carbondale on Wednesday.

The university’s sustainability office, which helps promote environmentally friendly actions and events on campus, helped organize many of Earth Day’s festivities. It also controls the Campus Sustainability Day — a similar day of recognition — that takes place in the fall. 


Kris Schachel, SIU’s sustainability coordinator, said Earth Day is a good rallying point for environmental awareness but students should celebrate Mother Nature every day.

“For someone like me, who is immersed daily in these matters, it’s an opportunity to really promote things that are going on campus. Sound the trumpet a little bit,” she said. “But I really would like to see development more toward an engrained recognition of the things that Earth Day represents.”

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Schachel and Sonya Willis Baquedano, a graduate student in human resource management from Rock Island, helped coordinate and promote events such as a flash mob, an art display, free bike repair and a free book giveaway. 

“One of the RSOs were largely a group of architecture students, Student Composing Space,” she said. “They made what looks like a large wavy igloo. Their purpose is to use either recycled or recyclable material to build unique things.”

Another student produced a sculpture made of collected waste. 

Schachel said the Saluki Charming Majorettes, a dance RSO, performed the flash mob in the Roman Room of the Student Center.


“Most of what came together today happened very organically by people just talking about ideas and deciding to see something through and make it happen,” she said.

Schachel credited Willis Baquedano with most of the ideas for the day.

Willis Baquedano said she suggested the flash mob idea, the location and music selection. She said it was good to see students involved in something bigger than themselves.

Michio Kaku, a world-renowned physicist, was on campus as a part of the university’s distinguished speaker series. Schachel said his speech, “The Future of the Mind,” tied in with the themes of Earth Day.

“He [spoke] about current trends and elaborating out into the future, which is what our work pertains to,” she said. “Taking stock of what’s going on now and trying to predict what’s going to happen in the future based on that.”

In town, Cade Bursell, a cinema and photography professor, organized a children-led puppet parade in honor of animals across the world.  

Schachel also said her office, University Housing and student volunteers will have a “move out collection” in the second week of May to salvage usable material that would otherwise be thrown out.  

Tyler Davis can be reached at [email protected].