Earth Day


Photo by Dallas Linger

Leah Wingenroth

Though the holiday’s official date is April 22, Appalachian State has been celebrating Earth Day for the entire month of April. Starting with cigarette butt cleanups and a local food summit, campus groups have been promoting sustainability through various different events and mediums.

Senior sustainable technology major Bailey Winecoff said that almost every club related to sustainability is doing something throughout the month.

Sustainable business graduate student and co-chair of the Student Sustainability Council Amy Birner said that Earth Day turned into Earth Week, which then turned into Earth Month.

“We have events such as the trail crew going out and hiking, and different films that are shown throughout the month,” Birner said. “It’s just to get people engaged and understanding that Earth Day is more than just one day. The things that you’re celebrating are happening throughout the week, throughout the month and then throughout the year.”

Different organizations both on campus and around the community got together on Sanford Mall on April 20 to educate and inform the student body about Earth Day, sustainability and the purpose of their clubs. Composting demonstrations, fermaculture, potting plants and interactive recycling games were all on the agenda, as well as informative tables handing out club merchandise.

“That’s really what the Earth Day Celebration is about: getting involved, being inspired and seeing that it doesn’t take a whole lot of time or effort,” Birner said. “People from the community will be there, such as Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture. The Appalachian State Trail Crew is partnering with Footsloggers and Regear and doing a gear swap.”

As stated in their description, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture is a local organization dedicated to strengthening the high country’s local food system by supporting women and their families with resources, education and skills related to sustainable food and agriculture. They were one of the many community groups involved in Appalachian State’s Earth Day Celebration.

Birner said that the town of Boone will be represented and will provide information regarding the town’s water conservation program, the recycling program and the litter prevention program.

“It will be cool to see how it’s not just App State but the Boone community celebrating,” Birner said.

Appalachian State University Solar Energy Society will be hosting Earth Tones, a completely solar powered concert, at Duck Pond on April 21.

As stated on their website, ASUSES’s purpose is to educate, enlighten and inform students and the community about solar and other renewable energy applications, green building and other aspects of sustainable living. They host events and educational programs on campus and in the community to inform people of the importance of renewable energy and sustainable living to our environment and future generations.

“The club does a lot of education,” senior sustainable development major and ASUSES president Kali Wolin said. “We use our trailer DAISEE to promote renewable energy and hold community events. Earth Tones is our newer event with local artists all powered by the sun, to also promote green energy and educate people.”

Fossil Free App State hosted an open mic night at Bald Guy Brew titled Earth Talks on April 19. It was an “environmentally focused open mic night open to anyone who wants to share writing, poetry, music or art related to the three E’s of sustainability: ecology, economy, equity,” according to their Facebook page.

Fossil Free App State is an on campus group aimed at advocating for the university to reevaluate its investments and consider moving towards a more sustainable and socially responsible portfolio.

Their goals include campaigning for the university’s investments to become public knowledge, educating students, faculty, administrators and the general public about issues of climate change and how reinvestment can be a strong tool in combating climate change and the industries interested in perpetuating it, forming alliances with groups with similar initiatives and raising awareness about climate change on campus and in the community.

This year, the Student Sustainability Council was created to collaborate amongst clubs and organizations on campus with similar interests.

Birner said that the Student Sustainability Council is composed of leaders who have proven to be effective within their own sustainability communities.

“Any club leader who is interested in representing their organization can through this council,” Birner said. “It’s people meeting at a roundtable discussion to see how we can work together.”

The council worked together to organize this year’s Earth Day events.

“Through the Student Sustainability Council, we’ll be gathering different clubs who all have the same mission to promote sustainability here on campus and get together for one big event and get students interested in our clubs,” Winecoff said. “But also raise awareness about the importance of Earth Day.”

Winecoff hopes that with the creation of the Student Sustainability Council, the Earth Day Celebration will continue to be a collaborative event for years to come.

Birner said that if you are plugged in and really know about the different initiatives, the campus is absolutely sustainable. Even then, she said, they do a very good job of ingraining it into everyday life and have been put into place to make it easy for us to continue our daily life, but in a better way.

“We have the solar panels in front of Peacock Hall, the solar thermal systems on top of the student union,” Birner said. “We don’t even hardly think about it when we’re recycling or using the hot water or electricity and I think that’s a good thing. I think if it was a huge movement that took a lot of adjustment, then it would be a lot harder for people to support.”

Wolin said that one of the main things we can do to be better as a community is focus on waste, try to transition to more composting and educating people on what composting and recycling is.

“There’s still a lot we can do that we don’t realize,” Wolin said. “You can reduce the amount of plastic waste if you wait until the trash is full to take it out. I think we do a great job with promoting great technology, but there is still room for growth. We’ve definitely made amazing strides as a campus.”

Story by: Leah Wingenroth, A&E Reporter