Two students make Earth Week

by Emily Dalnodar

Recycling, conserving energy, riding bicycles — these are all ways students can help carry out the messages of Earth Week throughout the year.
A 28-year tradition, Earth Day has blossomed into a full-week celebration. University community members embraced Earth Day in the past, and this April 22 will be no exception thanks to two determined students.
“It’s been crazy, we had a lot of help at first, but we’ve done it ourselves,” said Paul Joyce, a senior in the College of Natural Resources and organizer for the Center for Outdoor Adventure. “I can’t wait for it to start happening.”
Joyce and Erika Sass, a senior in the College of Human Ecology, tried to organize environmental groups from around the University in preparation for the event. They called themselves the University’s Earth Day Coalition. Many people showed up initially, but after the first few meetings, the two were on their own.
They also give credit to Coffman Union’s Program Council, which helped with planning and designing fliers, Joyce said.
“The hardest part has been finding money to put up the events. All the money has been through grants we’ve applied for,” Sass said. Because the coalition isn’t an official University group, funding came from outside grants and help from local businesses.
Several organizations pitched in money and material donations, helping to make next week as educational and entertaining as possible. Donating businesses include: Midwest Mountaineering, Hemporium, Varsity and Freewheel Bike and the Outdoor Store.
After two months of phone calls, filling out forms and persistent work, the small committee came through with an arsenal of activities.
Kicking off with an environmental fair Monday, Earth Week includes different events every day. Some involve guest speakers who will address issues affecting the environment, others offer trips to clean up lakes and rivers.
Festivities wind down with an urban sprawl conference Saturday hosted by the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group.
In addition, College of Natural Resources officials planned some of their own celebrations. Now in its second year, Natural Resources Week is a spinoff of Earth Week and promotes the same consciousness about the planet.
“We provide opportunities to concentrate on the environment and to think about what the students are trying to do,” said Marty Moen, communications coordinator at the College of Natural Resources.