by Yelin Jung
University of Maryland students turned out for the annual Earth Day Festival, hosted by the Student Government Association’s Student Sustainability Committee Friday in Stamp Student Union’s Grand Ballroom.
The event promoted green groups and raised awareness about the environmental issues on campus, said Willem Klajbor, SSC’s director of communication and junior economics and environmental science and policy major. More than 10 organizations and departments such as Terps Recycle and the Office of Sustainability participated in the festival.
These organizations work hard to make the University of Maryland community a better place. This festival provided an opportunity for them to showcase what their progress, get together, have free smoothies and listen to music.
“It is a very important issue,” said Klajbor. “I think it gives groups that really want to make important change on campus regarding sustainability of platform to use their voices which is one of our biggest goals as the sustainability committee.”
Visitors enjoyed the festival with bands’ performances, on-campus resources, guest speakers and refreshments. They made posters for the March for Science and the People’s Climate March together.
The most popular activity was called the “smoothie bike,” which blended smoothies with fruits and milk using pedal power. The bike and foods were donated by Proteus Bike Shop and Dining Services respectively, said Lindsey Wood, a member of SSC and senior microbiology major.
Sacoby Wilson, a public health professor, encouraged students to get involved in the environmental issue actively during his speech. He said it is important to be aware of people who are impacted by the issue in our community.
“Climate change is real. Climate change is here,” Dr. Wilson said. “We need to build a strong inclusive environment movement on this campus across the all groups to fight for the change.”
The committee has advocated for sustainable practices to make the campus cleaner and healthier for current students and future students, Klajbor said. In addition to continuing and expanding initiatives such as recycling and composting, SSC has cooperated with the city of College Park and the state of Maryland.
SSC has worked with the city for increasing awareness of Prince George’s County’s Styrofoam ban in restaurants and bars on Route 1, he said.
“We are making smart and sustainable decisions that ensure to save future for us, students, our kids, and our grandkids,” Klajbor said.
“This is the perfect time to come out, support the other groups here, and learn more about the things that I don’t know about already,” said Alana Caeser, a freshman government major. She said sustainability is significant to make the world better for ourselves and future generations.
Caroline Bruchman, a senior geography major, said starting with regular daily tasks, such as taking more public transportation and using reusable grocery bags, is the first step to maintaining sustainability.
“If every person were to think about how much water they use every day or how they could store the trash a little more efficiently, all of that would add up to one really big change,” Klajbor said. “I think all of it takes like one minute. So many [small things] really make the big different.”