This year, Earth Day got a whole lot of love.
Hamilton Sustainability Coordinators (HSC) decided that this year, Earth Day could not just be celebrated on April 22. Hence, “Green Week.” From April 20-26, they hosted Green Week, a week-long series of events to honor our planet and bring attention to environmental issues.
Among some of the events were a sustainable farmers market, an environmentally themed trivia night, the reforestation of the golf course in which students planted 400 trees, and “Weigh the Waste Wednesday” in which HSC had students scrape their food waste into bins and measured how much waste was generated in two hours: over 40 pounds.
“I think this week was good because students could see the difference they were making, so whether you were physically digging a hole to put a tree in the ground or scraping your food waste into a bucket and seeing everyone’s waste, just getting students to take an active role and get them to feel like they can make a difference,” Hannah Katz ’21, member of the Education and Awareness Team of HSC, said.
HSC even brought New York State Senator Rachel May to speak on campus. The panel discussion was called “The Road Ahead for Climate Action in New York” and also featured an advocate from the Citizens’ Climate Lobby and a student from the Sunrise Movement. May was Director of Sustainability Education at Syracuse University for 15 years before becoming senator this year, and spoke about her experiences as an environmental activist and support for the Climate and Community Protection Act.
“There has been a real lack of courage on the part of elected officials to move on climate change,” May said. “Some of that is because the opposition is very well-organized and extremely well-funded, and has been willing to stop at nothing to make it so that people are afraid of doing anything about climate change. I don’t pretend that I am somehow vastly more courageous than people before me, but I think that things have changed.
“They’ve changed partly because a lot of new people have run for office who come from an understanding of how important this is, and because of organizations like Sunrise, all of you, and the millions of people around the country telling us every day how important this is," said May. “There are so many things happening right in front of our eyes, and people are aware of that, and I am optimistic that at least here in the state of New York, we will pass significant climate legislation this year.”
In the spirit of sustainability, electric car charging stations have been installed at 10 locations on campus, which will allow up to 20 electric vehicles to be charged. This program was sponsored by grants from National Grid and NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority).