Ignite Change, not the planet: VU celebrates Earth Day

Claire Hoffman

Last Tuesday, April 21, kicked off Villanova’s Earth Day Celebration with a special lecture by the Conflict Minerals Program Manager of Intel Corporation, Carolyn Duran. 

The lecture discussed the effects of conflict minerals in developing countries, and the measures Intel has taken to prevent the use of such minerals in their products.

 Other Earth Day festivities included a Farmer’s Market on Wednesday, April 22, where students could buy fresh groceries from local farms and a Sustainability Fair with a raffle, t-shirt tye dying and poster presentations of Environmental Science students.

 Students’ projects ranged from the environmental implications of road salts used on campus to the benefits of an on campus bike share program funded by ink jet cartridge recycling to a survey on the effectiveness of the sustainable suggestions on the packing list given to incoming Freshman students. 

“Seeing the students’ posters is definitely the most rewarding part of Earth Day for me,” said Lisa Rodrigues, the Environmental Science II professor supervising this year’s projects. “I really like seeing all of the projects together.”

 “This year marks the 45th anniversary of Earth Day, and Villanova has prepared a wonderful spread of events and opportunities for the Villanova community and outside community to participate in,” Liesel Schwarz, Villanova’s Sustainability Manager said. 

Thursday, April 23, marked the first Climate March held by Villanova’s Catholic Relief Services Ambassadors. 

The march featured speakers from CRS and Villanova professors who addressed the effect of climate change on the global community. “This year we have engaged with student groups more so than in the past few years,” Schwarz said. 

 A Panel Discussion on Sustainable Solutions also took place Thursday, featuring a panel of experts discussing possible climate change solutions. A continental breakfast was provided.

 “At Villanova, we affirm our commitment to sustainability each year by celebrating Earth Day with a series of academic and service events,” said  Nathaniel Weston, Chair of the Earth Day Committee and Professor of the Department of Geography and the Environment. “These Earth Day events help to focus our attention on the importance of sustainability and taking action to promote a more sustainable world.”

 The last of these events was the Earth Day of Service this past Saturday, April 25. Students joined together to support neighboring communities and beautify areas like the Walnut Hill Community Garden, Natural Lands Trust Planting Party, Broomall Watershed and even the rain gardens on Villanova’s campus.

 “Some of the biggest challenges facing society in the near future will be tied to changes in our environment, such as climate change, water and air pollution, drought and sea-level rise,” Weston said. “Earth Day is a moment for all of us to recognize these issues and recommit ourselves to more sustainable lifestyle and societies.”