Greening the Campus & the Community During Earth Week
April 24, 2023 - This year’s Earth Week was full of events that highlight the College’s commitment to sustainability and the local community. Members of the Campus Sustainability Advisory Committee (CSAC) led the week’s events, hosting a two-day Earth Week Fair, supporting student cleanups, and fostering collaborations with the local community.
From e-bikes to sustainable clothing to composting demos, CSAC’s two-day Earth Week Fair had a full lineup of events. The fair was the week’s main event featuring local sustainability-focused vendors and organizations, environmental student clubs, and informational booths and interactive activities.
"Organizing our efforts into this 2-Day Earth Expo was informative, fun, and showcased the impact of all the small groups working together as one," said Kim Bodendorf, CSAC Member, Lead Organizer of Earth Week Events, and Associate Director of the Physical Plant. "This year’s Global Earth Day theme is ‘Invest In Our Planet’ and just as we are taught with financial investments, small investments in our sustainable practices now will compound over time and have a major impact on our earth.“
Students were the driving force behind Earth Week’s events, with many getting involved in a number of environmentally focused efforts to encourage others to take action.
"CSAC put on Earth Week events to help students and faculty members gain an understanding of how Marist is consciously working to protect the environment and to show how we can incorporate more eco-friendly habits into our daily routines,” said Emily Liguori '25, CSAC member, VP of the SGA Sustainability Committee, and Student Composting Officer. “It’s important to celebrate Earth Week to develop a deeper appreciation for our planet and provide opportunities to educate ourselves on how we can work together to preserve it.”
“The CSAC team worked hard to put on the Earth Week Fair so that students could learn about Marist climate change efforts and sustainable living tips from student clubs, local organizations, sustainable food and fashion vendors, and interactive activities,” said Avalon Johnson '24, CSAC member, Deputy VP of the SGA, and Student Composting Officer. “Events like this advocate for increased community climate action and caring for the earth all year long.”
In addition to the CSAC two-day fair, several other events took place throughout Earth Week, including activities hosted by the student club SEED (Students Encouraging Environmental Dedication), a guest lecture on plastic pollution, a clean-up of the Marist campus, and a tour of Marist’s nature preserve Fern Tor.
“By bringing together both student and local community organizations, we aim to encourage Marist students and faculty to carry out the principles of sustainability and promote the ideals of environmental stewardship through education and outreach initiatives,” said Emma Denes '25, CSAC Member, President of SEED, and Education Outreach Officer for the SGA Sustainability Committee. “With the forces of climate change ever present, educating people about environmental issues is the first step towards long-lasting change, both here at Marist and across the globe.”
Students Carli Piretra '23, Nasra Ngururu ’23, Jonathan Kittredge '23, and John Mesaros '23 also organized a community cleanup of the Fall Kill Creek. As part of the cleanup, the team worked with Community Matters 2 (CM2), a local organization that focuses on educational outreach and expansion of green spaces. CM2 led the streets cleanup while members of the Marist community led the creek cleanup.
“The cleanup was the final part of our capstone project which was preceded by education outreach in Poughkeepsie High School, residential surveys on trash management in the City of POK, and Rapid Trash Assessment in the Fall Kill Creek,” said Nasra Ngururu '23, CSAC Member, SEED Member, and Organizer of the Fall Kill Cleanup. “Events like our cleanup and the Earth Week Fair not only celebrate sustainability achievements but also help raise awareness about the existing environmental issues and how we, as a community, can be part of the solution.”