RWU Eco-Reps celebrate Earth Day with programming

Kaylee Pugliese, Photo Manager

In celebration of the planet, Roger Williams students and faculty came together for the annual Earth Fest celebration.

To kick off Earth Week, the RWU Eco-Reps hosted the first-ever trash fashion show where students on campus designed, made, and modeled outfits made entirely of recycled material. The outfits were judged by Murray McMillan, an associate professor of art, and Janet Coit, the director of the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management.

In addition to the fashion show, on Monday, April 16, the Eco-Reps also hosted a panel event titled “Sustainability Across Disciplines,” where professors explained how sustainability relates to their field, among other topics. The panelists of the night were Jeremy Campbell, associate professor of anthropology; Lillian Jeznach, assistant professor of engineering; and Loren Byrne, associate professor of biology & environmental science.

As the sun came out from behind the clouds on the Friday afternoon, members of both the campus and the local community gathered on the quad in front of the University Library to celebrate the Earth and learn about how to save it while enjoying free food and music.

At the event, local organizations, vendors, and student groups on campus come to sell their items and/or give out free samples. Students also share their sustainability projects and student groups have the opportunity to set up a table at the event to show how they are being “green.”

Junior Ryan Herrmann discussed his project of cleaning up the woods and beach behind the Bayside apartments.

“This was all of the trash we were able to pick up,” Herrmann said as he pointed to photos of plastic bottles, bags, and trash. “After picking up multiple bags, we didn’t even come close to getting all of it.”

Blount Fine Foods, a national soup company that gave out free samples of their soups, was one of the local vendors who had a table at Earth Fest. RWU chapter of the Food Recovery Network sold make-your-own trail mix, as well.

Another hit was the unveiling of the “Impossible Burger.” Each year, Bon Appetit serves free samples of food at Earth Fest, and this year they introduced a delicious plant-based burger that tastes just like a beef burger. The burger was such a success that they began selling it in Lower Commons on Monday, April 23.

The goal of the event is to unite the campus and celebrate Earth Day among the community.

Senior Carly Quinn, one of the co-presidents of the Eco-Reps, loved planning this event for the campus and is happy with the turnout.

“I think it’s important to plan activities on campus for Earth Day because the day can be easily overlooked, especially at this crazy busy time in the year,” said Quinn. “It deserves recognition, and not only for one day.”

Students had opportunities to learn about how to keep the campus environmentally friendly and how to protect the planet.

“I hope people learned new perspectives on sustainability and the Earth,” said Quinn.

The infamous cow, a campus favorite at Earth Fest, made an appearance. Her name was Miss America. Those in attendance lined up to pet her and take photos — or selfies — with her. Her sassy temperament entertained the crowd and she appeared to be loved by all.

Scott Yonan, assistant to Vice President of Student Life and Director of Special Projects, is the Eco-Rep’s advisor. None of these events and experiences could have happened without his help.