Green Week Fights Through Fire and Rain to Educate Students

march
University of Maryland students express their creativity through signs as they join others in the People’s Climate March. Photo provided by RHA Sustainability Committee.

By Cody Branchaw

The University of Maryland’s Resident Hall Association Sustainability Committee celebrated Mother Earth with its annual Green Week this past week.

The week of events hoped to raise awareness and provide fun, interactive activities for students around campus. RHA Sustainability Committee President Celeste Corona, a freshman government and politics and environmental science and policy double major, loved how the events unfolded, setting the stage for more events to come in the future.

“The week was a learning experience, it was an amazing time with people who actually wanted to learn about sustainability,” said Corona. “It’s something that we can continue to improve and hopefully we’ll continue to see it for many years to come.”

The week began April 21 with yoga on the mall, followed by a stream clean-up on the next day.

The university shut down April 24 due to poor air quality, caused by a fire at the Fuse 47 apartment complex on Berwyn House Road. A screening of Leonardo DiCaprio’s 2016 climate change documentary, “Before the Flood,” was cancelled as a result. Due to rainy weather, a tie-dying event scheduled for the following day was cancelled as well.

On Wednesday, April 26, environmental and economic experts led a panel in Stamp to discuss sustainability in politics. Topics of discussion included fracking, big money and cover-ups.

“So often on college campuses, discussions about the environment are just echoed…with everyone agreeing, and very few actual differing viewpoints,” said RHA Sustainability Officer William Jacob Mast, a sophomore environmental science and policy major. We really want to bring in people who have different opinions about the economics of sustainability.”

The panel was followed by a build-your-own potted plant event at the campus’s Community Learning Garden. Students in attendance learned about composting and left with their own plants.

“I ended up making a basil plant, because I have a bunny and she significantly increases my shopping for produce,” said freshman animal science major Morgan Lim. “I thought it would be an awesome way to reduce my environmental impact that normally results from shopping for greens, by growing them myself instead.”

“I think Green Week matters, because by doing small things such as planting…you can make an impact and reduce the toll that large-scale farming has on the environment,” said freshman computer science major Dennis Dao, who left the event with his own new cilantro plant.

Members of RHA Sustainability Committee prepare to help students plant their own potted plants. Photo provided by RHA Sustainability Committee.

The week ended in collaboration with MaryPIRG and the SGA, as students piled into buses to take part in April 29’s People’s Climate March in Washington, D.C.

“Environmental activism is essential in order to have the current administration see what issues matter most to Americans,” junior environmental science and policy major Jason Winik said. “Talking about climate change isn’t going to do anything, but all of us gathering together and sticking up for what we believe in will hopefully make a statement.”

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