From March 19 to March 25, the Office of Sustainability at Wake Forest hosted the Beauty in the World We Find: the 2017 Celebration of the Earth to assure those taking small steps towards sustainability that their efforts are in fact aiding the restoration of our precious environment.
The week-long festivities focused on cleaner and greener ways to live day-to-day, while also celebrating the natural beauty of the Earth. The theme for the week was inspired by a quote from Terry Tempest Williams: “Finding beauty in a broken world is the beauty in the world we find.” They combined an appreciative attitude of the environment with activities that aimed to demonstrate this awareness.
Throughout the celebration, students were recognized for their sustainable actions as they were “caught green-handed,” filling up a reusable water bottle, riding a bike or otherwise promoting environmentally friendly behavior.
“Earth Week provides everyone the opportunity to better inform themselves and participate in activities that increase sustainability awareness,” said sophomore Jordan Mullens, explaining that every little effort we make contributes greatly toward our sustainable progress. “It gives us the chance to be more conscious of our impact on the beautiful world around us.”
The week’s daily events began with the Celebration of Spring: Vernal Equinox on Sunday, where students could converge to show their appreciation for the Earth through an artistic medium of their choice, with a central theme of environmental admiration and unification of individuals by nature. Attendees also painted a banner that was later showcased on the Upper Quad to share with the remainder of the Wake Forest community.
Monday afternoon, on-campus organizations Outdoor Pursuits and the Cycling Club partnered with local Ken’s Bike Shop to offer complimentary bike tune-ups in order to promote clean transportation around campus. After that, Campus Kitchen, Thrive and the Office of Sustainability hosted Just Eat It: Waste-Not Cooking Class on Tuesday in the Campus Kitchen Lounge in order to help students, faculty and staff learn how to prepare delicious and nutrient-packed snacks resourcefully and limit excess food waste. Following this event, Champions of Change: Campus Sustainability Awards took place on Wednesday, showing the importance of recognizing each step we as individuals take to benefit our environment.
“For the sake of our children, for seasons, for biodiversity, let’s choose to live sustainably,” said freshman Ellie Bruggen.
On Thursday, campus welcomed former Maryland congresswoman and Wake Forest graduate Donna Edwards to speak about her cross-country journey to raise awareness about the importance of the preservation of the beauty of our Earth, especially in state and national parks.
The biggest Earth Week event by far, with participation from over 20 campus organizations, was Campus Beautification Day. This event was held on Friday to display respect for trees and their profound importance with a tree planting ceremony and trail maintenance efforts surrounding campus.
Finally, Saturday marked the beginning of Forsyth Creek Week, a nine-day celebration filled with multiple hands-on activities for those passionate about the significance of our local waterways.
“The best way to know the value of the Earth is to go explore and experience the beauty of our planet,” said Mullens. “So get outside and enjoy some fresh air.”