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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA celebrates Earth Day with campus events

Baraha Elkhalil

General studies junior Cameron Coles participates in the can throw during the Sustainability Olympics on the UA Mall on Monday. The event was held with the goal of celebrating the Earth and its resources in preparation for Earth Day, which is today.

While Monday was a “green” holiday for many, it pales in comparison to an even greener one — Earth Day.

Today is the annual celebration of the Earth, its resources and the creatures that call it home. Earth Day was originally founded to advocate for human health and happiness, with a focus on the environment only coming recently.

“It is about reminding ourselves Earth Day isn’t separate from caring about people,” said Maya Kapoor, graduate assistant for the Office of Sustainability.

The UA has put on a dizzying array of events to celebrate, from the Sustainability Olympics and Earth Hour, to a Battle of the Utilities.

“We are considering it ‘Earth Month,’” Kapoor said.

The Sustainability Olympics were held at the UA Mall on Monday, for students to lean sustainability with games.

Earth Hour, put on by Residence Life, is a worldwide event that encourages everyone to shut off all lights for one hour.

Lastly, Recycle Mania — an event where dorms compete to recycle the most — recently came to a close.

“[It’s] basically just a competition amongst residence halls to promote reduction, reuse, recycling,” said Drew Matalon, an accounting senior.

These events come amid a greater focus on sustainability and being eco-friendly, both throughout the nation and on campus. The UA has several programs and policies to encourage sustainability on campus, such as a community garden, campus composting, and several clubs and organizations for students to join and learn more.

Most of these initiatives aren’t cheap, which is why the UA operates the Green Fund. The fund was set up as a grant to pay for sustainability projects on campus, with a panel of students and faculty making the decisions of what programs get how much.

For students, there are many different ways to make an impact. Students can use reusable bags at U-Mart , carry reusable water bottles, recycle, compost, limit water usage, and turn off air conditioning and lights when not in use. 

“It’s important to be recycling bottles and cans but [also] reducing our waste, too,” said Jackie Mendelson, a plant sciences freshman.

While individual students have plenty of ways to work on sustainability, there are several different student organizations and clubs dedicated to sustainability as well.

Compost Cats are responsible for increasing awareness of the importance of composting and for successfully getting compost programs set up at Sabor and Cactus Grill in the Student Union Memorial Center.

Students for Sustainability works to educate and volunteer about the topic by setting up interactive booths at the Sustainability Olympics and the Tucson Earth Day event.

The Tucson Earth Day was held at Reid Park on Saturday, with participation from various people, organizations and clubs — including UA students.

Mendelson said the purpose was to find “fun ways to learn about why sustainability is important.”

All of these events and activities reflect the importance of Earth Day, both to the campus and the community as a whole.

“We need to be a resource to the Earth, just as it’s been a resource to us,” Mendelson said.


Follow Erik Kolsrud on Twitter.

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