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Student Reflections on Earth Week 2018

Each April as part of Earth Week, students involved in sustainability help to organize events and campaigns to promote awareness of sustainability-related initiatives and issues. This year, events that the Sustainability Office supported or planned include a Speed Stories dinner with Professor Nick Reo, the 8th Annual Sustainability and Social Justice Dinner, an Earth Week Festival, an art exhibit called Garbage: An Artistic Wasteland, and an Earth Week Fair at 53 Commons.

Speed Stories with Professor Nick Reo

Reflections from Joe Fairbanks '17, Sustainability Fellow

Speed Stories is a collaborative project supported by the Tucker Center, Global Village, The Sustainability Office, Living Learning Communities, and the Thought Project. The event lets students better understand faculty, get a sense of what a life well lived looks like, and share stories. Students gather with their Professors to break bread and engage in informal, facilitated discussion. Our special Earth Week installment of Speed Stories with Professor Nick Reo, Environmental Studies and Native American Studies, had over 40 people in attendance. Professor Reo talked a lot about his home in Michigan. He also touched on his path into academia, his commitment to community, and how his relationship to his tribe has changed over his life. Professor Reo studies Indigenous knowledge and ecological stewardship on Indigenous lands. His work blends ecological, anthropological and Indigenous methodologies. His story was a great way to begin the conversation around year’s Sustainability and Social Justice theme.

Sustainability and Social Justice Dinner

Reflections from Madison Sabol '18 and Alex Sclafani '18, Sustainable Dartmouth Interns

At the 8th Annual Sustainability and Social Justice Dinner, students, faculty, and staff gathered to participate in conversation about indigenous rights, resource use, and advocacy work. This dinner event aims to leverage personal storytelling in order to improve, strengthen, and inspire the ways in which we engage with intersectional sustainability and social justice issues.

Panel speakers included Dartmouth alumna Aja DeCoteau ‘03 who works for the Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, Brandi Colander who has worked on natural resources and energy at the National Wildlife Federation, as well as in academia and with the Department of the Interior, and Dartmouth Professor Bruce Duthu '80, who has extensive teaching, research, and advocacy experience in interdisciplinary Native American law and policy. The panel discussion ranged from experiences working in legislative advocacy for indigenous land rights, personal tribal history and values, and insights from corporate work on diversity and inclusion. The speakers also touched on some of the challenges in pursuing the work of justice and evidence-based policy in this current political climate.

Following the panel discussion, event guests reflected together at their round tables. Guests shared what motivates them to join conversations around sustainability and social justice, as well as their reactions to the panel discussion topics.

Earth Week Festival

Reflections from Heidi Ahn '18, House Communities Intern

This year, interns and student groups involved with the Office of Sustainability organized the Earth Week Festival, which has previously been celebrated as Farm Fresh Friday. The Earth Week Festival took place on the Friday afternoon before Earth Day on Collis Patio, which helped to increase visibility and accessibility of the event. Although the weather was chilly, students enjoyed eating food from local farms and vendors, getting their bikes fixed, learning about waste, and planting seedlings. Sustainability Office Waste Interns collaborated with staff from the Jewelry Studio to organize a waste-to-art jewelry making activity at the festival -- a favorite! The Sustainable Action Workshop and EcoReps tabled to spread the word about waste initiatives on campus, including SAW’s reusable shopping bag campaign and the EcoReps’ zero waste challenge. Members of the Farm Club were also present to sell some of the maple syrup collected over spring break by the Sugar Crew. And, per usual, the Bikes Team was available at the event to fix student bikes and spread the word about bike stewardship on campus. Thanks to Edgewater Farm and Mac’s Maple Creamery for delicious treats!

It was enjoyable to partake and witness multiple intern teams collaborating on a single event open to campus. There's nothing like free food and good vibes to bring people together!

Garbage: An Artistic Wasteland

Reflections from Jason Liu '21, EcoRep

This year, the EcoReps team decided to tackle waste issues on campus as their environmental sustainability action. While brainstorming various projects, they could develop to address Dartmouth's waste problem, one of the EcoReps shared an inspiration to use art as a way of connecting Dartmouth students to campus waste issues. As a result, the Garbáge Art Show came to fruition. Garbáge: An Artistic Wasteland featured work by students who used waste as an artistic medium to showcase their pieces while also engaging students in discussions around waste on campus. The EcoReps showcased a variety of pieces, ranging from extravagant paintings to delicate sculptures. The range of media and content across the artwork reflected what EcoReps see as a broad range of influences and implications of the waste system. It was amazing to see the level of engagement that they had on opening night. Overall, the Garbáge Art Show was a remarkable success, and the EcoReps hope it continues to inspire students to be more conscientious of the waste they produce.

The EcoReps would like to thank Lisa Hayes for providing the HOP Garage space for the exhibit and Kelly Thompson for providing art supplies for the student artists. They also thank the artists for providing their pieces for the show.

Earth Week Fair at Foco

Reflections from Hannah Nash '17, Waste Intern

On the Wednesday following Earth Day, interns and groups involved in the Office of Sustainability held a fair in Foco to celebrate Earth Week and increase awareness of sustainability initiatives. The Bikes Team made smoothies using a bike-powered blender, the EcoReps conducted a food waste audit, and the Waste interns and members of the Sustainable Action Workshop (SAW) group shared information about their current waste-related campaigns. The food waste audit involved collection of all uneaten food items from plates that would typically be discarded. The total food waste was then weighed and divided by the number of students who swiped into the dining hall that evening in order to calculate the average pounds of food waste produced per person. Dining Services recently has supported several initiatives to increase the sustainability of their operations and services, including eliminating plastic straws, serving sustainably certified seafood, and expanding the Green2Go program. The Earth Week Fair was a great way to highlight this work.

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