Spinning on its axis at more than 1,000 miles per hour, the Earth completes one rotation every 24 hours. This week, each day will take on special significance about the planet at the University of South Dakota.
Earth Days events will take place throughout campus and the Vermillion community, and will be highlighting the importance of conserving the Earth.
Meghann Jarchow, USD’s sustainability coordinator, said the point of having a week long celebration of Earth is to make Earth Day a broad topic beyond just a day or a week out of the year.
“One of the goals is to try and have the activities reach out to a wide range of people,” Jarchow said.
On Wednesday, sophomore Emily Hattouni will host the Earth Day Fair in the Munster University Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Hattouni said the coordinators aren’t just staying behind the scenes, but are also participating in the week’s events.
“Other events I will participate in as a student who is interested in the different events that are happening,” Hattouni said, “Events like Petcha Kucha, the keynote speaker, the trash pick up and frog watch event.”
Hattouni said the week’s events focus on conserving the Earth for future generations.
“Sustainability is a passion of mine. (Earth Days is) kind of a celebration of how amazing the Earth is and trying to protect that,” Hattouni said.“It’s about providing a future for you and generations to come.”
A tour of Spirit Mound will kick off the day Saturday. Then the Alternative Week of Off Campus Learning (AWOL) program will be helping the Sustainability Club complete a service day from 1 to 4 p.m., meeting in the MUC around noon to sign up for events.
Junior Kirsty Longley is the AWOL coordinator who is helping put the event together.
“Community service is very saturated in Vermillion. It’s hard to find projects to be done because there are so many organizations doing things. But it’s a good way to learn about the community,” Longley said. “We usually don’t interact with them on a daily basis so getting out and meeting new people is really actually beneficial to understanding this community.”
Longley said AWOL attempted to put something together for Earth Days last year. However, the plan fell through, so this year will be the first year that AWOL will be helping in the sustainability efforts.
“I’m looking forward to being with a social issue that I don’t have much experience with. Sustainability has never been something I thought I could serve towards, so I’m really excited to be involved in that and broaden my horizons and develop a deeper understanding,“ Longley said.
Jarchow said one of the main goals of Earth Days is to make the events relevant to students.
“Another goal is to make this a good learning opportunity for students. In a more practical sense I think people like to think they can make a change in the world. (We want) to expose students to a wide range of ways they could get involved in sustainability type work,” Jarchow said.
Earth week will come to a close on Sunday with a sustainability and spirituality event.
“We think it’s important for students and campus to think of sustainability and environmental conservation as important, so if they’re jazzed at the idea we have a major and minor on campus,” Jarchow said.
Longley said the week is a good way for students to have an impact on their local community.
“(Earth Days is) a really good way to broaden your horizons, (and) make an impact on the lives right here (in Vermillion),” Longley said.
(Photo: Michael Helgerson, far right, a senior business major, and Naveen Rokkam, right, a computer science graduate student, meet with Venky Venkatachalam, left, dean of the Beacom School of Business, and De Vee Dykstra, center, a business professor, April 20 to discuss the future of their idea. Malachi Petersen / The Volante)