By Sarah Frazer || Staff Writer
This past week, F&M’s Environmental Action Alliance (EAA) and the Center for the Sustainable Environment (CSE) hosted multiple activities to promote sustainability and environmental conservation on campus.
The CSE tabled in College Center throughout the week to raise awareness about environmental issues and, in particular, about Earth Hour, which happened this past Saturday from 8:30p.m. to 9:30p.m. Earth Hour is an annual international event for people around the globe to take an hour during which they will use as little electricity as possible, “to take an hour to come together as one to help the climate,” explained Sandy Chilson, who is the Weis House Green Liason. The reason behind Earth Hour, as well as the other sustainability-inspired events on campus this past week is simple: the Earth is going through a period of manmade climate change and the CSE and EAA want to encourage the F&M community to do something about it. On Earth Hour, CSE is planning to hold a competition between the college houses to see which one can be the most sustainable. The prize is yet to be determined, but will be something like a pizza party.
In addition to tabling, the CSE set up a board in the middle of the College Center to promote Earth Hour and get students to think about environmental issues. On one side of the board, students were asked to write what worries them about the Earth, and, on the other, students were to make a pledge articulating what they are going to do to change what worries them. The goal is to make “people to notice the environment is changing,” according to Chilson. While some contest the validity of the claim that humans are causing climate change, Chilson maintains that “it’s not controversial, and something needs to be done.” She explains, that “at the Sustainability Center, it’s our job to get people involved.”
For those who are interested in being more sustainable, the CSE also hosted a workshop, the fourth in a series of workshops, on making sustainable desserts. Held this past Friday at 8:00p.m., Chilson admitted they were surprised at the amount of people who came, elaborating that they received eighty responses on their Facebook event. The desserts the students made were chocolate coconut no-bake macaroons and chocolate peanut butter oatmeal no-bake cookies. Both desserts were vegan, and the former was gluten free as well. All the ingredients for the desserts were from the local Lemon Street Market, with the exception of bananas, as they are out of season. The desserts were simple to make, both containing about six ingredients and taking about ten minutes to make.
Both required no baking, partially because there is no oven in the Sustainability Center, but not baking the desserts “definitely saves energy too, especially if the oven one would use runs on gas,” says Chilson.
As Chilson expressed, “We live in such an agricultural area with so much [access to] local foods. It’s a shame to be buying food from big supermarkets.” According to Chilson, the point of buying local, besides supporting the local Lancaster community and economy, is “to decrease [our] carbon footprint. It’s not hard so [we should] take advantage of it.”
F&M’s EAA was also active this week in promoting sustainability. They collaborated with Kappa Delta to host a clothing drive, where students could trade some of their used clothing for others’ clothes. The idea behind the clothing swap is to further the sustainable aspect of reusing clothes, instead of buying news ones. At the same time, students can give their used, but still wearable, clothing “to somebody who might use it more than [them,]” explained Alessandra Rella, who’s in EAA. Last year, EAA collaborated with a woman who made old clothes new to give to people in need. This year, EAA is donating the remaining clothes to a group that gives clothing to transgender teens, who do not have access to clothing they are comfortable in. Last year was very successful, according to Rella, and tons of clothes were donated. People got clothes they liked and probably saved money in the long run, since they did not have to buy new clothes, or at least as many or as soon.
This coming Friday, March 31, at 4:30p.m., CSE is hosting a composting workshop. In addition, Sustainability Week will be coming up in April near Earth Day, which is the 22nd of the month. There are also several marches on Earth Day, so students should be on the lookout for those.
Sophomore Sarah Frazer is a staff writer. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.