EarthFest is an annual event at Rochester held by the student group Grassroots in honor of Earth Day. What happens each year varies, but the activities are always centered around raising awareness of environmental issues. This year, there were live birds of prey (gasp), succulent and travel mug giveaways, campus environmental groups tabling, and Grassroots’ signature clothing exchange. Last year, attendees had the opportunity to tie-dye reused shirts, which I took advantage of with my plain white intramural champion T-shirt.
Folks from Braddock Bay Raptor Research brought three rescued birds of prey for people to look at and learn about. There was a great horned owl, a merlin, and a broad-winged hawk. All these birds can be found in the Rochester area during at least some parts of the year. They also had information about how lead bullets hurt both birds and humans. This part of EarthFest was a big hit!
GreenSpace, the sustainability special interest housing group, gathered nearly 100 pledges to not use plastic straws for a month. This campaign, organized by Simply Straws, aims to reduce plastic pollution by addressing a plastic item commonly found on beaches and presenting a reusable glass alternative.
Food Recovery Network talked about food waste. They had a cute giraffe jimmy-rigged from recycled boxes named Scott F. Daniels. Why a giraffe? Why that name? Food Recovery Network about 5,000 pounds of food waste out of landfills every academic year, which is about the weight of an adult giraffe. The name came from a poll in a UR Facebook group. Scott F. Daniels is a student here, and apparently he’s really tall!
Dining Team Green advertised their upcoming Bee Day, which is actually a week of events to raise awareness about the importance of bees. On April 25 in Danforth Dining Hall, there was Bee Dinner, at which meals were centered around the foods we wouldn’t have without pollinators. On the third floor of Douglass Commons, there was also an expression wall where students can write about why bees are important to them. Dining Team Green also tabled in Wilson Commons. At the table, you could buy cute bee pins for $3 and the money all went toward Sweet Beez, a local organization that works to increase pollinator populations in Rochester. Plus, with every purchase, people were entered to win a big basket of bee-related products, courtesy of Lori’s Natural Foods.
Facilities Team Green gave out metal water bottles and “UR Sustainable” stickers. The Student Association of Vegan and Vegetarian Youth (SAVVY) gave out literature about going vegan, PETA stickers, and talked about how reducing your animal product consumption is more sustainable.
Grassroots ran their monthly clothing exchange at EarthFest this year, as per usual. The clothing exchange involves students bringing clothes they no longer want, if they have any, and taking some, if they want to. This helps keep clothes out of landfills while allowing college students, who don’t typically have excess money, to get free clothes. Plus, it’s an easy way for students to get rid of clothes they don’t want. It’s a win-win-win!
The giveaways were very popular, unsurprisingly. Who doesn’t love cute little succulents? The travel mugs say “Make every day Earth Day,” which is so fitting for the event.
EarthFest was great this year. Shoutout to Izzy Murphy, who made it all happen! I’m so excited to see what’s at EarthFest next year!