USG Sustainability Committee Hosts Earth Week


Fordham’s United Student Government hosted events, such as Plant a Seed, in honor of Earth day. (Courtesy of Instagram)

The United Student Government’s (USG) Sustainability Committee hosted Earth Week, a week of programming at Fordham from Saturday, April 15 to Saturday, April 22 in honor of Earth Day. Earth Day is an annual celebration that honors environmental achievements and raises awareness of the work that still needs to be done. On April 15, the week kicked off with a Fordham Flea pop-up, which is an in-person flea market on campus. Other events included Plant a Seed, Day of Kelp, a Community Climate Summit and Action Fair, Paint a Tote Bag and other collaborations with environmentally-focused clubs on campus.

Liz Shim, FCRH ’23, chair of the USG sustainability committee, explained the importance of celebrating Earth Week.

“It is extremely important to celebrate Earth Week because I feel like a lot of people forget that climate change is one of the most threatening and imminent issues that we are all facing together as a species,” said Shim. “People are saying ‘it won’t affect me in this lifetime,’ and they aren’t focusing on combating climate change. And there are a lot of disbelievers out there. So it is important to raise awareness and just celebrate how to live sustainably, so we can secure our futures.”

Lauren Larsen, FCRH ’25, a member of the sustainability committee, added that it is important to have reflective programming at Fordham.

“The Bronx is the greenest borough, so I really think that it is important to make sure that Fordham reflects that in our programs,” said Larsen. “Hence why we do events for Earth Week and Sustainability Week throughout the year to carry that on into the Fordham community.”
Andre Pulumbarit, GSB ’25, another sustainability committee member, highlighted how the different events can encourage people to be more sustainable.

“The Plant a Seed event encourages people to raise nature. I think that is a big thing – showing people how easy it is to start small with being sustainable,” said Pulumbarit. “By planting a seed and letting them take it home, the event is kind of us giving them a kickstart to being sustainable.”

Pulumbarit added that the Paint a Tote Bag event is where people get to paint their own reusable tote bags. “It is a fun way to incentivize people to have a reusable bag,” said Pulumbarit.

Shim added that Earth Week is a way to raise awareness about the intersectionality within sustainability and raise awareness about things such as greenwashing. Greenwashing is when a company uses misleading information about its product and often involves unsubstantiated claims to deceive consumers into thinking that the company has a greater environmental impact than they actually do.

“People don’t realize how many different sectors that sustainability is a part of. For example, with Plant a Seed that is something a little more personal to get people to embrace nature,” said Shim. “We had a career panel and that really shows how sustainability and ESG and business are going hand-in-hand together now.”

Shim added: “A lot of companies are greenwashing… Right now, we are trying to raise awareness to make sure these businesses are responsible for all the greenhouse gasses they emit and all the waste they produce.”

Other members of the sustainability committee also shared why they decided to become involved, including Sean Powers, FCRH ’24, and Tierney Kulju, FCRH ’24, vice chair of the committee.

Powers explained that he always loved being outside. He said he was not always a believer in climate change and sustainable practices, but over the past few years, he saw all the damage that was being done to the environment when he was outside, from tides rising to the increase in trash during COVID-19.
“Having that mindset of what I once thought, I hope I can inspire people to understand the importance of sustainability and caring for the planet and not only changing the planet now and trying to heal it but teaching people how to care for it tomorrow and the years after us,” said Powers.

“As an environmental science major, I believe that I have a responsibility to promote sustainability both on and off campus, and USG has been an excellent outlet to make change in both of those avenues,” said Kulju. “Throughout my two years on the committee, I have made many wonderful connections with people who are passionate about making Fordham a greener campus. Additionally, I have had the opportunity to connect to both the student body and university administration on proposals such as composting in the Marketplace and the reintroduction of reusable drinkware at campus dining locations.”

Shim added, “I decided to become part of USG sustainability because I wanted to make a long-lasting, permanent impact and leave my legacy and change the world for the better. In college, you have the opportunities that are not available in high school to make that change.”