Daring the strong, gusty wind to stop Earth Day at West Chester University, organizations came together to take over The Great Lawn and advocate sustainability on Friday, April 24. The organizations set up their tables, adding a couple of rocks atop their pamphlets, brochures, candy dishes, and prizes. At least a dozen organizations were present.
The first table passerbys would run into was WCU’s own Earth Club. They were working on reaching a goal of $1,025 of donations to go towards UNICEF. The title of their fundraiser was “Inspired Gifts for UNICEF” where participants, such as WCU’s Earth Club, would raise enough money in order to buy a concrete gift to help create sustainable gifts for third world countries and communities in need.
“Our ultimate goal is to raise $1,025 in order to purchase two hand pumps,” said club member Melissa Monroe. These hand pumps would supply an entire community with clean, drinking water.
In order to create an incentive to donate, they had a raffle going. “For every dollar you donate, you receive one ticket,” explained Monroe. Prizes included items such as a bamboo mobile phone amplifier and a Buddha knot bracelet. In addition to the raffle, they were handing out globe-shaped stress balls and sustainable condoms. The condoms are from GlydeAmerica.com, who make condoms out of natural materials. “Any way to make things more sustainable is good,” said Monroe.
Aramark, WCU’s food supplier on campus, was present too. The sustainability coordinator of dining services, Taylor Neis, and her intern, Nicole DelGrosso, had set up a game at their two tables. There were four recycling boxes labeled “Glass,” “Cardboard,” “Plastic,” and “Paper.” Students were handed small versions of items such as an empty glue bottle or a Starbucks cup and asked to place it into the box they believed it belonged to show the importance of understanding which recycle bins are used for which items.
“We also have a pledge available for students to sign. The pledge is to make every day Earth Day by doing things such as using a reusable water bottle every day, for example. We are posting the pledge in Lawrence,” said Neis.
The large hut set up in The Great Lawn was put up by the Office of Wellness Promotion. The hut is titled the “Health Hut” and they hope to set it up at future events like Glo Zumba and Get Yourself Tested Day. The promotion team was promoting sustainability by handing out goodies such as Delight Fruit and Nut health bars, reusable water bottles, and reusable shopping bags.
Other groups beside campus-affiliated organizations were present too.
The Valley Forge Trout Unlimited group were there to promote clean water. They were advocating to conserve, protect, and restore local water sources while also providing students, adults, and children alike with opportunities to fish and understand the importance of keeping our rivers and waters clean.
“Locally, the largest problem is stormwater runoff,” said vice president Pete Goodman. One way of cleaning the stormwater runoff and debris is by hosting stream cleanups, he explained.
“Over the years, we found that partnerships with others help our mission by pulling on each others resources and combating the problem more effectively,” said Goodman.
Their organization also involves fly fishing. Each year they open a Fly Fishing school to engage all ages and skills. “Our membership is made up of conservationists interested in fishing,” explained Goodman.
Despite the wind, many organizations held their ground and shared their mission of helping West Chester and the surrounding area become a more sustainable place.
In addition to giving out prizes, gifts, and baked goods, the organizations gave out valuable information in taking care of our Earth.
Colleen Cummings is a fourth-year student majoring in English writing with minors in journalism and graphic design. She can be reached at CC763510@wcupa.edu.