Although we should celebrate our planet and work toward “greener” efforts every day, Hiram spent this past Earth Day educating and inspiring campus with an Earth Day Fair. Students enjoyed various educational displays, learning techniques to turn plastic scraps into yarn and the current compost system on campus. Additionally, several educational animal ambassadors from the James H. Barrow Biological Field Station including Corny the corn snake and Mystery the pigeon were available to meet.
The organizations involved with the Earth Day Fair include the Sustainable Development Committee, the Environmental Appreciation Club (EAC), the Stone Soup Co-op, the Office of Campus Involvement, and the Office of Development and Alumni Relations.
“Historically, Earth Day has been about education, awareness, and inspiration for addressing the environmental crises we face, and was originally in the form of teach-ins,” said Sustainability Coordinator, Zach Fox. “What made our Earth Day Fair special, I think, is that we focused on the day as a celebration. We were trying to combat the feelings of guilt and shame that many of us feel when thinking about our environmental impact by appreciating Earth’s beauty and by framing sustainability action as a positive practice rather than a sacrifice.”
Recently, Hiram College was certified as an arboretum the week leading up to Earth Day, and to officially establish the arboretum, fifty trees throughout campus must be labeled with identification signs. During the Earth Day Fair, students helped paint signs that were recycled bed frames from the residence halls, to provide some color and creativity to the project. Eventually, most of the labeled trees will be in the center of campus, including Varlotta Green, Martin Commons, and in front of the Kennedy Center.
“The arboretum is a great example of how fantastic community involvement can be,” said Neil Robertson ’23, a biology and political science double major. Robertson is one of the lead organizers that helped submit the application for Hiram College to become an official arboretum and is passionate about sustainability initiatives across campus. Robertson serves as chair for the Sustainable Development Committee and enjoyed partaking in the Earth Day Fair. “It was fun to hang out with my friends and help push Hiram’s message of sustainability to more students. Earth Day is a great reminder that community and sustainability go hand-in-hand, but it always feels good to involve yourself and help out your community, Earth Day or not!”
By Elyse Pitkin