Cleveland State University’s annual EarthFest celebration in the CSU Student Center was a bustle of activity on Thursday, April 21, raising awareness about campus- and community sustainability initiatives and organizations moving the needle toward a greener world.
EarthFest is a free event in honor of Earth Day, which falls this year on Friday, April 22. This year’s mission is to celebrate Earth Day by engaging students, faculty, and staff to create a truly vibrant and green campus and community. It was hosted by the CSU Office of Sustainability and the Student Environmental Movement.
Fun Fact: Earth Day began in 1970 in large part because there was no Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), no Clean Air Act, no Clean Water Act. Much of the founding of those three critical protections rests upon Cleveland shoulders, as a result of the many pollution fires that burned on the Cuyahoga River during the mid 20th century.
Subsequent protests about the river and protecting the environment were plentiful, including right here on CSU's campus.
In honor of the day, hundreds of students, faculty and staff joined in learning about CSU’s sustainability mission, through exhibitions from community organizations on everything from electric vehicles and recycling, to offering bike check services by the Ohio City Bicycle Co-op.
Apart from the “Giant Earth Dome” that makes an appearance in the Student Center for Earth Day festivities every year, attendees were treated to free food, the global sounds of world music DJ Kris Koch (a Cleveland and CSU institution!) and three-dozen different sustainability tables to visit. Filling up an “eco-passport” booklet with stamps gave students an option to win cool prizes from event sponsors.
There was even a “clothing swap” station—essentially a trade-in kiosk of a “vintage” or “well-loved” clothing items to exchange—which felt a little like thrifting on campus! And speaking of clothing, first-year Studio Art and Graphic Design major at CSU, Jackie Hill-Branch designed this year’s EarthFest 2022 t-shirt.
Hill-Branch engaged with the campus sustainability specialist Alethea Watson, at the Office of Sustainability’s bi-weekly tabling event in the Innerlink, which ultimately fostered the collaborative effort.
“I actually really liked designing, and the creative process,” said Branch about working with the Office of Sustainability, adding that she will continue to search for opportunities to volunteer for projects on- and off-campus where she can utilize and grow her craft. “It was a fun project and I look forward to more in the future.”
About the Office of Sustainability
At CSU, students, faculty, and staff are working together to create a greener campus and a more sustainable future. From operations to curriculum and research, there are many opportunities to engage in sustainability initiatives on campus.
The Office of Sustainability has its sights on goals in energy and emissions, transportation, waste and recycling, campus operations, education and culture as well as buildings and grounds—knowing that everyone’s participation is critical to a brighter future.
In addition to partnering and engagement, the office has fortified its commitment to environmental stewardship and climate action. Within the last 10 years, CSU has been featured several times in The Princeton Review’s Guide to Green Colleges and has been recognized as a Sierra Club Cool School.
For more information, go to www.csuohio.edu/sustainability.