USG Sustainability Committee Hosts Earth Week


USG Sustainability Committee hosted a week of events to celebrate Earth Week. (Courtesy of USG Sustainability Committee)

From April 4-12, the United Student Government (USG) Sustainability Committee held a series of events celebrating Earth Week. Working in partnership with a number of the university’s climate and sustainability organizations, the committee held five dedicated events over the course of the past week to encourage students to make more earth-healthy decisions in their daily lives.

“Climate change is only becoming more and more serious,” said Liz Shim, FCRH ’23, vice president of sustainability for USG. The Sustainability Committee has ramped up their efforts in spreading climate awareness this year, especially after the events of first semester, when Hurricane Ida wreaked havoc on New York. “One day, it’s 70 degrees Fahrenheit outside, but the following day it can drop below 32 degrees,” said Shim.

Climate change is getting worse. The weather seen today is not the weather seen five or 10 years ago. On top of varying and extreme temperatures, “storms are becoming stronger and more frequent,” said Shim. The destruction of Walsh Library and damage to the McGinley club suites after severe flooding is representative of how unexpected these dramatic weather changes are, especially for a city like New York. That is why events like Earth Week are so important — to remind students that this issue is not disappearing any time soon.

The week started with the committee’s Plant-A-Seed program, which encouraged students to stop by Dealy Hall and grab their own potted plant to grow themselves. Doing this “[fosters] the students’ empathy for nature by having them grow their own plants,” said Shim. In addition, the responsibility of having a plant of one’s own also promotes environmental awareness, which can help to change the tide of the current climate crisis.

On Tuesday, Olivia Greenspan, author of “A Kid’s Book about Climate Change” visited the university to discuss the importance of climate change and instill a message about the importance of environmental awareness in everyone, regardless of age. “It’s important to teach the younger generations about climate change because eventually, the responsibility of fighting climate change will be left to them,” said Shim, citing the event was a success.

Wednesday’s event, which was a field day on Edward’s Parade, ended up being rescheduled for the following Monday, April 11, because of weather. Despite that, it had a tremendous turnout; the committee continued the event for an extra hour because people were eager to participate in the beautiful spring weather. In conjunction with the Outdoors Club at Fordham, volleyball nets were set up and frisbees were passed out to students. Dozens of participants relished in New York’s first warm day in a long time, marking the official arrival of spring and a re-established love for the outdoors.

Thursday’s event was a pop-up with Fordham Flea and Spes Nova. It was “students’ favorite recurring event,” said Shim. The committee was able to raise over $200 for an organization that fights climate change or “works towards environmental revitalization in underprivileged communities.” With everything priced at five dollars or less, the event attracted students to enjoy the thrifting-adjacent event.

“The goal of this event was to minimize student waste and offer students affordable, secondhand clothing,” said Shim. Fordham Flea is a well-known resource on campus allowing students to give their clothing a new home within the community. Spes Nova specializes in selling local artisan goods while ensuring ethical consumerism and profit.

The last event was a crowd favorite. Friday’s Paint-A-Tote-Bag event encouraged students to nurture their creative juices. The Sustainability Committee passed out tote bags to students and supplied them with paint, brushes and plenty of glitter. “I was so proud to see such great designs,” said Shim, reflecting on the success of the event.

Ironically, the events produced a lot of litter, because students failed to clean up after themselves. For subsequent Sustainability Week and Earth Week events, the committee plans on forewarning students about the waste they produce while participating, and to be more conscious of their ecological footprints. Nevertheless, Earth Week was a huge celebration of the hard work of the Sustainability Committee and its partnering organizations, which brought together a fantastic series of events to honor the return of spring and celebrate the earth.