SIU Sustainability hosted an environmentally friendly series of events for the “fall version” of Earth Day called Campus Sustainability Day.
The Student Center art gallery was home to the first “Sustainival” Wednesday.
Many “green,” do-it-yourself products were given out at the carnival. Popcorn, snow cones, balloons, cotton candy and coffee were prepared using sustainable methods.
Sustainablity is the quality of not being harmful to the environment or depleting natural resources, and thereby supporting long-term ecological balance.
Kris Schachel, sustainability coordinator at SIU, hosted the event and said the carnival was just the beginning of what the office had in store for anyone who wanted to participate.
“We have a responsibility to prepare people, students and also faculty and staff, to help them understand the sustainability challenges we are facing and give them the tools to address those,” Schachel said.
She said Campus Sustainability Day is specific to institutions of higher learning.
The event included a free carnival, free yoga class and a free showing of “Plastic Paradise,” a documentary on plastic polluting Earth’s oceans.
“We wanted the carnival to be quick and attention grabbing, whereas the yoga session would be where people would relax their body and then share in an experience to learn something visually,” Schachel said.
Sydne Rensing, a junior studying public relations from Albers, attended the carnival and said it was enlightening.
“All of the natural products that are good for you, and all the environmental stuff, it was actually really neat,” she said. “I didn’t realize they had all of that stuff down there.”
She said there were free sustainability-related giveaways.
“There was a lot more than I expected,” Rensing said. “We got to make our own free body scrub made out of all natural products, we got free soap, learned a lot of information about animals and we were entered into win free cups that the craft shop makes.”
Vendors at the event displayed their work and handed out free samples.
Verlinda Newton, owner of Sanctuary Home Spa Works, LLC., was selling a variety of soaps and explained the natural process she uses to make them.
Newton grows, grinds and infuses homegrown herbs to make different kinds of soaps.
“This is a soap that most doctors and allergists would say to get because it is gentle to the skin,” Newton said. “I found that the soap that you buy in the stores is [made of ] detergent and chemicals.”
Newton said it is best to use these organic and fresh products instead of exposing the skin to harsh chemicals.
She said there are a few cancer patients among her customers who use her product during therapy.
Sonya Willis, a graduate student from Rock Island studying human resources, is a sustainability office assistant and said there are many aspects to being sustainable.
“When I came to interview for this job, I knew nothing about recycling,” Willis said. “I thought it was just recycling and I quickly found out that its about is using only what you need.”
She said she feels many students are not aware of sustainability beyond recycling.
“I wanted to put all of this together and it worked out very good to let everyone know that being sustainable is not about being a vegetarian,” she said. “It’s about eating fruit, drinking healthy coffee and having information.”
She said little things could be done during the day to improve sustainability such as unplugging appliances and turning off water when it isn’t being used.
Willis said the office came up with the idea to illuminate how necessary sustainability is for everyone, and there are many sustainability efforts around campus that students take for granted.
“Plenty of people take our pledge and have no idea what sustainability is,” Willis said. “No one realizes that you don’t have to make a really big effort or a lot of changes in their lives, but they don’t.”