This upcoming Tuesday, April 23, the Carnival on the Quad will be held featuring a variety of games and activities themed around Slippery Rock University’s Earth Days. One in a series of events spanning the whole month, the Carnival, designed by SRU’s Office of Sustainability aims to raise awareness of environmentalist issues and how students can become personally involved in them.
“The overall idea for the Office of Sustainability is to promote and educate students and faculty on campus/…/on sustainable environmental practices and just better ways to live life,” explained Megan Stouffer junior public relations major.
Stouffer is the Social Media Manager for SRU’s Office of Sustainability and has been working closely with Dr. Paul Scanlon, Director of Sustainability, to raise awareness for these environmental events that are both coming and have passed. When asked why the usual one-day holiday had been extended to a whole month, Stouffer said,
“Because we’re on a campus and because it’s such a broad audience, it’s easier for the office, as well as other organizations, to get involved with Earth Day activities. Instead of just combining everything on one day, which would be crazy for any student or anyone else involved, it’s easier to spread it out throughout the month. That way you can do more, educate, and have more fun and activities, that kind of thing.”
Of the many activities planned throughout the month, Stouffer called particular attention to a guest speaker, Larry Schweiger, who appeared on April 11, the Carnival on the Quad on April 23, and Earthfest, a collaboration with the Kaleidoscope Arts Festival on the 27.
Stouffer explained that a considerable amount of time is spent just planning and coordinating the events long before they even occur; even now, the Office of Sustainability has its sights set on October.
“April is Earth Month, and then October is also Sustainability Month for the state schools, so really half the year is planning for Earth Month and the other half is planning for October events,” described Stouffer. “We’re excited for October /…/ the Office, as well as the Commission, are working towards really pushing for sustainable products that students can use instead of plastics ones and stuff like that. I know plastic is kind of a big thing we’ve been working to get rid of on campus, so that’s something they’re really pushing for going forward.”
“Last year they took away plastic bags from Rocky’s and Boozel as well, that’s why they use the paper ones, and it was interesting because older students were in an uproar about it because, ‘Oh my gosh, taking away our bags,’ but now people don’t even know they were there. I think there’s a lot of cool ways we can change out stuff.”
The Office of Sustainability hopes to keep making small changes to refine the whole, but most of all they strive to educate and improve the student body of Slippery Rock University.
“I hope people just kind of get the idea that you don’t have to do a lot to make a difference,” she concluded. “I know a lot of people are like, “oh my gosh, sustainable practices are so hard,” like, you can’t hold a zero waste life. I can’t even do that. But there’s little things you can do, like replace a straw. I think it takes just a little bit of education for people to realize that.”