Students celebrate Earth Day with outdoor festival

Students celebrate Earth Day with outdoor festival

Erica Terrini

News Editor

Hundreds of students weaved around the promotional tables of about 11 VCU student and university organizations that lined the walkway outside the Shafer Court Dining Center Friday afternoon during the Earth Day outdoor festival.

Co-hosts of the 2010 Earth Day festival included Green Unity, VCU Recycling and Save the Trash! The festival was hosted in an effort to celebrate Earth Day, according to Green Unity members. Events were held throughout last week to raise student involvement in VCU’s green efforts.

Chris Meier, a junior political science and economics double major, said he happened to be walking through the Compass and decided to fill out a Green Unity survey, which examined student interaction with the environment.

“I’m interested in how VCU is going green this year,” Meier said. “I’ve been following along with the program as it’s been going around campus.”

Meier said he thinks VCU has been successful in promoting its green initiative, especially on its website.

The festival offered students the opportunity to speak with non-profit environmental organizations about their ongoing projects and objectives, said Green Unity member James McCarthy.

About an hour into the three-hour festival, the VCU fashion department presented a fashion show of eco-chic clothing made entirely out of thrift store products and other recycled materials.

Lindsi Bellomo, a junior communication arts major, and Laurel Rodriguez, a junior fashion design major, said they received a research grant from the School of the Arts to travel to other Virginia colleges and universities and speak with students about eco-fashion.

“What we’re trying to do is show that you can take a garment, rip it apart and make something new out of it; you don’t have to throw it in the trash,” Rodriguez said.

Other VCU organizations tabling at the festival included the Outdoor Adventure Program, Dining Services, the Sustainability Committee and Roots (a student organization promoting a student-run community garden to be built on the roof of the University Student Commons).

“We’re trying to get student interest to show that if this does happen, people aren’t just going to forget about it after a year or two,” said Taylor Dayton, a freshman elementary education major and Roots member. “Hopefully, if we get enough interest, we will this summer be able to build a community garden on top of the Commons.”

Richmond organizations tabling at the festival included Ellwood Thompson’s, the Department of Environmental Quality, Second Solutions, Environment Virginia, the Sierra Club, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and the Virginia Conservation Network.

According to McCarthy, Green Unity presented guest speaker Joel Salatin, owner of Polyface Farms, in a forum addressing the community after the outdoor festival.

For more information about these events, visit the Green Unity Facebook group: Green Unity 4 VCU.,

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