By Emily Hostetler
With smoothie machines powered by bicycles, dancing and prizes, Ohio Wesleyan’s first Green Week aims to promote sustainable thinking on campus and in the Delaware community.
During the week of March 25-29, daily events will be held on campus to educate students and staff about living a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. Green Week team participants will attend events to earn points to win the competition and first prize: choosing what sustainability project will be funded by the week’s proceeds.
Junior Erika Kazi, president of Environmental & Wildlife Club (E&W), said there are 25 teams registered, totaling 125 individual participants, but the events aren’t limited to those who registered.
“Green Week is an initiative by students for the purpose of educat(ing) members of the OWU community about sustainability projects on campus and an opportunity for them to learn the impact that they can make as individuals,” she said.
Each day of the week has a specific sustainable theme of events.
Monday, March 25, will focus on water and energy, featuring free water bottles for those who complete an energy quiz and a banner making competition.
Tuesday, March 26, will be centered on local businesses. Students will have the opportunity to speak with local businesses and try some free appetizers from local restaurants, along with beer and wine for those over 21, from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Bishop Café.
Wednesday, March 27, will educate students on composting and being mindful of their trash. Free tote bags will be given to those who stop by the composting station to learn about the benefits of composting at OWU.
Thursday, March 28, will focus on alternative transportation, such as biking. A bike-powered blender will be available to make smoothies for 3 food points and students can sign up for afternoon bike rides while learning about the Bishop Bike program. Free sporks will be given to those during the afternoon bike riding session.
Friday, March 29, will be based on energy conservation by turning off the lights. Free “when not in use, turn off the juice” stickers will be handed out and the Lights Out Program will be initiated, in which the unneeded lights in the Schimmel Conrades Science Center will be turned off. The Tree House will be holding a “Thrift Shop Party” where students are required to donate an item to enter the party.
Saturday, March 30, a Free Store will be held at the Tree House with all of the items collected at the Thrift Shop Party.
Kazi said she received a $500 grant from Outdoor Nation, a non-profit organization geared towards helping millennials reconnect with nature, and 100 water bottles from CamelBak.
She then reached out to other organizations on and off campus to help sponsor the events, including Shareable, an online magazine about sharing items to be more environmentally friendly; the OWU Sustainability Task Force; E&W; the Environmental Studies Program; the Tree House; Wesleyan Council on Student Affairs; and the Philosophy Department’s Andy Anderson Fund.
Kazi said that while she is most excited for the bike-powered blending machine that will be available for students and staff to make their own healthy and sustainable snacks, the whole week is about learning to live sustainably.
“Green Week is the perfect proof of the potential we have as a small liberal arts college and as members of the Delaware community to get together to learn and have a good time,” she said.
Junior Sarah Jilbert, an Environmental Studies major who is planning the events with Kazi, said Green Week’s purpose is to educate while keeping the activities fun and interesting.
“The state of our environment and the negative direction it’s heading is becoming increasingly important,” she said. “This week is a chance for the community to learn about alternative ways to live in order to become more environmentally friendly.”
The week’s activities will focus on educating the participants while keeping them interested in what they are learning.
“Green Week is important to me because it’s a chance to make a difference in the way people think about sustainable issues,” Jilbert said. “Students at OWU don’t generally have the most positive outlook on the importance of sustainable issues, and this is my chance to show them that thinking about them can be fun, and make a difference.”
During the activities, the Green Week teams will be challenged to think of new ways to become more sustainable in their daily lives.
“A healthy, sustainable lifestyle doesn’t just mean composting, recycling and turning off lights,” Kazi said. “It’s about friendships, sharing, having fun, and most importantly, community.”