To celebrate Earth Day next week, the Sustainable Vermillion committee, comprised of members of the University of South Dakota Sustainability Club, sustainability program and members of the Vermillion community, have planned a week of festivities.
The week kicks off April 21 with a showing of the documentary “A Fierce Green Fire” at 3 p.m. in Farber Hall. The week wraps up April 28 with a community panel, planning and potluck at 6 p.m. at the Vermillion Area Arts Council.
“The Sustainability Club has been very involved with planning the week’s events,” sophomore Emily Roberson, co-president of the club, said.
Roberson said the Sustainability Club’s big project for the week will be tied to its Face Your Waste project.
“The whole week we’ll have a visual representation in the MUC under the stairs of all the recyclable waste of college students,” Roberson said. “We’re really trying to get the message out about recycling.”
The highlight of the week for Roberson and Meghann Jarchow, adviser of the Sustainability Club, is Frances Moore Lappe’s visit April 22, they said.
Lappe, an internationally-known sustainability activist, will host a sustainability discussion at 2 p.m. April 22 in Farber Hall, and will then give a lecture about sustainability at 7 p.m. that evening. Jarchow said Lappe will share an important Earth Day message.
“She has been a spokesperson on sustainability since the 1970s, so it’s a big deal to have her on campus,” Roberson said. “She’ll be a very inspirational speaker, who’ll encourage everyone to get actively involved.”
Jarchow said the week of events grew from the Sustainable Vermillion committee’s search for sponsors for Lappe’s lecture.
“We found that there were so many passionate people, so we decided to spread out the events so they weren’t all jam-packed into one day so there were no conflicting events,” Jarchow said.
Throughout the week, there is a wide range of events, from lectures to sustainability fairs to trash cleanups.
“We really tried to pick a variety of events so there’s something interesting for everyone, so there’s a combination of events that are intellectual and events that are experiential,” Jarchow said. “If you’re looking for something that’s content rich, we have that, but there are also family-friendly events.”
Roberson said the goal is to get the Vermillion community involved, not just the USD campus.
“The planned events are a lot of things we’ve wanted to do for years and they’re finally coming to fruition,” Roberson said. “Sustainability is something we should think about daily, so all of these opportunities are hitting a wider audience.”
Roberson said sustainability is an interdisciplinary issue, so everyone should get involved and take advantage of the week of events.
“Everyone has something to learn from these events,” she said. “It’s great for families to get involved. It gives students a chance to do something different than what you study every day in the classroom. You can apply what you learn to all aspects of your life.”