Katherine Wilk
kwilk@radford.edu

Photo by Kasey Sutphin -- Earth Day on Heth Lawn

Students flocked to Heth Lawn Thursday, April 22 in celebration of Earth Day. The festival had Radford University celebrating the 40th anniversary of the day, recognizing the beauty of the planet and environmental protection.

The RU community, Radford residents and over 40 regional green businesses and organizations gathered in the sunny quad to promote their businesses and exchange conversation with passersby.

RU President Penelope Kyle offered her insight on the celebration and rich history surrounding the 1960s environmental movement. She confirmed the goal for RU to continue with the movement by improving sustainability and encouraging members of RU to keep the planet in mind.

Kyle later helped plant a tree on Heth Lawn in front of Reed-Curie Hall before festivities continued. RU’s Sustainability Coordinator, Julio Stephens, shared with attendees the totals for Recylemania, a challenge to produce the most recycled material over the course of the competition. Each member of RU recycled almost 10 pounds of material while producing around 54 pounds of trash over the 10 week period, totaling more than 17 tons of recyclables.

“Obviously we’ve got some more work to do,” Stephens said. “But, it’s a great recognition of your efforts and everyone participating.”

Stephens continued to give students tips to help the school remain dedicated to sustainability. He reminded everyone to conserve their electricity and water, unplug items after use and easily set computer settings to reduce power consumption.

“We’ve been having a green party and it’s great,” Stevens said. “This is the perfect time to celebrate, but we need to take it another step, and what we truly need is a green revolution. We need people to get excited, we need people to demand change and ask questions and get solutions.”

The Colin Thompson Band, IMRA and Feel Good Cabbage performed to a crowd on the quad. Other festivities included creative projects inside the “Organic Valley Funzone” like building birdhouses, decorating reusable bags and tossing recycled items in the trash while students took turns enjoying a climbing wall to overlook the festival.

The event was sponsored by the Blue Mountain Organics, Heritage Food USA, the Johnson Ridge Farm and the United States Army Corps of Engineers.

As students hula hooped across the lawn, businesses shared their goods with participants and a tree found its start on campus, the community was able to come together to celebrate and look ahead.

“Take the first step and show others with your leadership what you care about and others will follow you,” Stephens said. “There’s plenty of work to do… and we’ll keep moving forward.”

[This article was published in the April 28, 2010 issue of The Tartan. It was also published online April 27.]


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