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Campus Spotlight: SUNY Fredonia Celebrates Earth Week

By Sherri A. Mason, State University of New York (SUNY) Fredonia

The key to saving our planet is simply to find a way to live in harmony with it. That means finding a balance in what we take from the Earth and what we give back to it. It is not about abstinence or extremes, it is about harmony and symbiosis. It is about finding the balance, in ourselves, our lives, and our society.

SUNY Fredonia’s Earth Week series is intended to provide activities and educational events to raise awareness of the breadth of sustainability issues facing our society and provide the tools necessary to reduce our negative impact upon our home.

Fredonia hosted its first ever Earth Week series of events in 2008 primarily as a voice to the then newly created Sustainability Committee. Now in its fourth year, the Earth Week Series has become one of the largest and most prominent annual events on the SUNY Fredonia campus. While our first two Earth Week Series of events were very successful, we took our community engagement and educational outreach activities to a whole new level with Earth Week 2010 and 2011 through our collaboration with the SUNY Fredonia Academic Community Engagement (FACE) Center.

The FACE center promotes campus and community collaboration in the areas of civic engagement, sustainability, service learning, and community-based research.

Past Earth Week Series:

Earth Week 2010: Be The Change

Earth Week 2009: Rethink. React. Restore.

Earth Week 2008: Our Home. Our Earth. Our Choice.

Since its launch, the Earth Week Series has grown into one of the biggest and best attended event series on the SUNY Fredonia campus. In 2010, it had grown to 42 events occurring over 11 days! Owing to its size and the need to be sustainable everyday, not just Earth Day, in 2011 the Earth Week series grew into the Sustainability Series, which occurred through the Spring 2011 semester (January through May, 2011). Our Sustainability/Earth Week Series of events include: guest speakers, film screenings, panel presentations, Eco-Fairs, Beach Clean-Ups and Tree Planting activities to name a few examples.

The planning for this year’s Earth Week Series was led by the Sustainability Committee and the FACE Center, plus numerous student groups such as the Campus Climate Challenge, Political Science Association, Public Relations Student Association, Physics Club, Women’s Student Union, etc. We also organize events with departmental representatives from across campus including Dance, Theater, Music, Political Science, Geosciences, Chemistry, etc.

We host a number of events in the community making use of our Opera house for two performances of ‘Arts for the Earth’, making use of our Village Commons area for a ‘Dumpster Dive’ and making use of local Coffee Houses for Film Screenings and panel discussions. Additionally we engage community members who also serve as environmental activists to serve as panelists for our discussions. We also host events such as the Green expo and Shake the habit which feature and encourage our local business community to be more sustainability minded and feature their green initiatives.

Our goals is to reach out to a wide array of people and organizations and to provide multiple venues/activities for people of various backgrounds to engage using artist interpretations, movies, actions- dumpster dives, duathlons, tree plantings, clean-ups. We recognize that every person has their own entry point into caring about the environment- all of that diversity.

To learn more about SUNY Fredonia’s innovative Earth Week Series, visit this website. To learn more about the FACE Center, visit this website.

What did your campus do for Earth Day/Week?

Native Plant Gardens

Dumpster Diving for Earth Week

Organic Lawn Care

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