Earth Day 2014 is rapidly approaching, and the members of Green Unity for VCU and Rams Community Bazaar will celebrate with this year’s Earth Day Bazaar.
The bazaar will take place on April 22 at the University Student Plaza. The one-day event has many different vendors and activities to enjoy as well as free food.
The bazaar was founded three years ago by members of the Green Unity organization. The group focuses on making VCU and the surrounding communities more sustainable through service and education. Green Unity leader Jessica Shim said the bazaar is one of the biggest ways they achieve this goal.
“We have the bazaar to trigger the local economy for local vendors and local students who want to sell their product,” Shim said. “We really emphasize the fact that it is very local (and) we want everybody to know that they are contributing to a more Mom-and-Pop kind of thing, and not a big corporation.”
The group focuses on enriching the community fiscally during this event. Ashley Grupenhoff, another leader for Green Unity, said the group also wants attendees to learn new things and meet new people.
“It is a great way to network with a bunch of people, from small businesses to local artist,” Grupenhoff said. “Someone who doesn’t know what sustainability is can come and see upcycled art (converted waste products into new materials), it is a great way to introduce the public to a green way of living.”
In the absence of founding member Melissa Lesh, now an alumni of VCU, leaders of Green Unity for VCU Rilo Rodina, Shim and Grupenhoff are looking forward to continuing the event this year.
“This is the first year of us doing this on our own so we are pretty excited about it having a fresh new start and trying to make it have something new to it,” Shim said.
The members have put together new activities and features for participants to enjoy, like a crafts station where participants can help to create a mural-style banner to paint what their idea of sustainability is. The event will also feature new vendors like New Normal Apparel, an eco-friendly clothing company, and the VCU Metals department, who will be there with jewelry and artwork on display.
Past participants have some familiar faces to look forward to, like Tereza McInnes, whose table is a popular stop for her crochet pieces. Organizers say a lot of vendors are also looking forward to participate in the event again.
Her Campus VCU will make a reappearance with items like jewelry and donated items. The group will also feature new items such as homemade beauty products.
“The Rams Bazaar has definitely been our best fundraiser thus far,” said Chelsea Kubo, co-founder of Her Campus VCU.
Rodina encouraged people to stop by, even if only to walk through to see the kinds of things people spend their time creating and working on.
The Earth Day Bazaar will take place April 22 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Park Plaza. The event is free to attend.