Earth Day celebration promotes conservation

In recent years, Southeastern has put a lot of focus into making its campus more “green,” or environmentally friendly. To spread this attitude throughout the student body, Dr. Amber Narro’s Public Communication Campaigns course and the Department of Languages and Communication hosted an Earth Day celebration.

Though Earth Day is officially on April 22, the event was held on Tuesday, April 17, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Student Union Mall.

“I think that there’s been kind of a digression with people recycling and with people actually caring about the environment and everything that’s going on around us,” said Jacob Bellairs, a freshman in finance and the vice president of Alpha Tau Eta, a service organization. “I think being able to put it in a central location, like the union, and have everything out there for people to realize what’s going on and what’s happening is extremely important just so we can keep going and try to better ourselves and better the world.”

The area was filled almost entirely with booths for the event, where representatives from a wide range of businesses and organizations talked to students about the methods their companies use to be environmentally friendly. A Microsoft Windows tent provided bins for students to dispose of batteries and electronics, Entergy displayed the energy usage of different lightbulbs, and the Global Wildlife Center, the Department of Environmental Quality and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) shared their own information.

“We practice good conservation practices out at Stennis because it makes sense, it helps us save money,” said Ron Magee, the assistant to the director at the NASA Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. “We’re able to sell our cardboard, we’re able to recycle all our paper, and then that paper comes back to us as recycled content. We also are very big into recycling all of our oils. We’re doing the proper disposal methods. We’re not shipping them out as hazardous waste. It helps us run our facility more efficiently.”

Members of Reconnect, an environmental club on campus, gave away seedlings, such as lettuce, peppers and radishes and even potted them so students could grow them at home.

“We’re also trying to educate students about the Real Food Challenge,” said Erin Uzee, a member of Reconnect and a junior biology major. “We’re trying to get more local sustainable produce into the cafeteria system.”

Russell Evans, the Manager of Sustainability for Physical Plant Services, and Clint Rushing, a horticulturist for Horticulture Services, were also there to talk to students about the measures Southeastern has taken towards conservation. Recently a tree farm has been started in order to supply the campus with disease free foliage at a lower cost. A recycling program and solar panels have also been implemented, as well as a plan for the campus to go dumpster-free.

“I love it. It’s very, very cool how I can make a difference and reduce using energy and reduce using water by doing some simple, everyday tasks,” said Kaitlyn Mire, a general studies senior who attended the event. “I think it’s very important. I think everybody can contribute to doing a little something each day to make the Earth better or to keep it the way it is. I think it’s important to help protect the way we live.”