UC Merced is a school of the twenty-first century, and its mission is centered in research, teaching, and service. This month, the Earth Week Festival demonstrated in many ways how UC Merced is taking innovative steps to fulfill its mission. The purpose for this project was to highlight one of the campus’ keystones: being green. Earth Week was all about raising awareness for sustainability and energy conservation.
The campus clubs this year have been collaborating with local businesses that are committed to sustainability. This year, local businesses participated in the Green Vendor Fair, and were able to promote themselves and demonstrate how they have ensured their business’ sustainability. A member of the ASUCM Commission on Sustainability, Stephen Ho, said that one of the main goals this year was “to increase awareness about the existence of local green companies, and …increase the connectivity with the local community.” Although it was challenging to bring local businesses to participate, the Engineers for a Sustainable World, in collaboration with the Recycling department, were able to make it a successful event.
Earth Week was condensed to a two-day event this year, as opposed to last year’s weeklong event. However, Earth Week was an approach to being more environmentally friendly, and consuming fewer resources. Some of the events were organized by clubs, and included educating students on ways to save money by simply decreasing their energy and water consumption. In addition, the clubs gave tips, such as unplugging electronics and turning off lights at home.
The Speaker Series, which was organized by Green Campus, invited some of the faculty to speak about sustainability. The project also included an acoustic concert that took place on campus Wednesday night. The Energy Service Corps informed students of trouble-free ways to be green.
Student-run festivals such as Earth Week demonstrate the university’s commitment to environmental sustainability. The fact that students are greatly involved in projects such as these has become more than simply rote participation: it has become a part of students’ normal lives. Our school has many recycling bins placed around campus, and has installed a Hydration Station across from the student store, where students can refill their water bottles. Ho believes that choosing UC Merced to get an education “should be because this campus is known for its sustainability.” UCM was built on ideals of sustainability, and it’s up to the students to fulfill the campus’ objectives of being a leading green campus. Events like these, which promote energy conservation and environmental sustainability, show that UCM is committed to solving environmental problems one person at a time.