Green on the Green: Earth Day at KSU

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At 40, the nation’s celebration of Earth Day has grown up, and with it, a new generation of…

Georgia (Apr 23, 2010) — At 40, the nation’s celebration of Earth Day has grown up, and with it, a new generation of environmental enthusiasts who constitute a savvy, energetic front for today’s green revolution.

 

KSU’s annual celebration has evolved too, according to Robert C. Paul, the university’s director of sustainability and coordinator of the April 22 Earth Day festivities organized by the student-run Progressive Earth Alliance at Kennesaw (PEAK). “This is probably as well attended as I’ve seen,” he said.
 
At more than a dozen tables set up on the Campus Green, students — committed individuals or representatives of campus organizations — passionately shared information with hundreds of visitors. Joining the students’ crusade were vendors offering everything from raw, whole and organic snacks to information on saving energy, as well as KSU units with a green bent, including culinary services, residence life and the bike shop. 
 
Their green topics, demonstrations and activities ran the gambit: from solar and other types of renewable energy and recycling; to distinguishing between so-called green products advertised by well-known household cleaning product companies and the “real thing” produced by green upstarts; to making jewelry from recycled items and candles from natural soy; to composting for apartments and dorms using worms. 
 
“It’s really something we have to do,” said student Tori Wester, representing the Epsilon Nu chapter of Phi Sigma Pi honors fraternity. “It’s our turn.” 
 
Accepting PEAK’s challenge to all sectors of the KSU community to work towards sustainability and a healthy environment, Wester described Phi Sigma Pi’s commitment to several green behaviors, like using PowerPoint presentations at all meetings rather than handing out information on paper; having a recycling bin on hand for any events they hold; making and distributing recyclable water bottles and carpooling wherever they travel.
 
Second-year student Julianne Trew has made a personal commitment to eliminating waste. For about 16 months, she has been turning all her table scraps (except meat and citrus) and newspaper into a rich, dark compost with the help of about one-half pound of red wiggler worms, a technique she learned at a green expo. She makes the compost in a plastic bin she keeps next to her bed in her on-campus apartment. “Most people that visit don’t even know I have it,” she said. “There’s no smell and the worms can’t get out.” Trew gives most of the compost to her dad for gardening, but on Earth Day, she was happy to share it with visitors who got small cups with vegetable or herb seeds planted in the mixture.
 
Chris Smith, a graduate student in American Studies and PEAK organizer, helped orchestrate a demonstration of solar power using two polycrystalline photovoltaic solar panels with a storage bank and inverter that supplies a 120-volt AC current, just like the power in a normal wall outlet.
 
“You’d need about 16 of these at a cost of about $10,000 to power an entire single-family house,” Smith explained. “We hope to display these panels in the area of the Social Science building to help promote the feasibility of solar power. “It sounds like a lot, but over time it’s an investment that will pay for itself and help us move towards more sustainable energy.”
 
The Earth Day celebration is one more indication of KSU’s commitment to achieving and educating about environmental health and sustainability, said Paul, who was clutching a framed copy of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDS) recertification award he had just received for the Social Sciences building. “We’ve come a long way but we still have a long way to go.”
 
- Sabbaye McGriff
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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its approximately 41,000 students. With 11 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 6 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status, and one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu

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