University of Florida campus Earth week almost here

Background Info: For this story, all students had to write a story about the environment, health, sustainability or technology. I decided to go with sustainability since it is something I am passionate about. 

Earth Day is about a month away, which means the University of Florida’s Office of Sustainability is hard at work planning campus Earth week.  

This year’s Earth Week will occur from April 9 to 14.

Earth week will start off with a keynote speaking event at the University Auditorium, according to the Office of Sustainability’s website. The event will feature Paul Hawken, who is an Environmentalist and Executive Director of Project Drawdown

“He is one of the environmental movement’s leading voices,” according to Hawken’s website. “Project Drawdown is a non-profit dedicated to researching when and how global warming can be reversed.”

This year’s Earth week focuses on climate change and what the university can do to get things moving in that realm, said Outreach and Communications Coordinator at the University of Florida Office of Sustainability Allison Vitt. 

“It should be awesome, and we’re hoping to bring together a lot of people across campus,” Vitt said. 

UF student Kayla Mudger, a third-year biology major from Lakeland said, she loves science and enjoys learning new things about the field because it is not her strict area of focus for her major  

She expects to hear some current updates and perspectives of recent events and trends in the global environment, Mudger said. Topics such as global warming and pollution are what she would expect to hear the most about. 

The second event of the week is the Sustainability Showcase which, is scheduled to take place on April 11, from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., according to the Office of Sustainability’s website. The event will feature a tabling expo with campus and community organizations, interactive displays, games and more. 

The event is meant to bring all the organizations together to showcase what they are working on and doing, Vitt said. The event allows for people to learn about sustainability efforts on campus and find organizations they might want to get involved in. 

In previous years the exotic animal club has brought out baby alligators and snakes, which people can hold and take pictures with, Vitt said.

This year a screening of the “Story of Stuff,” which is a film series will also be playing at the event, according to the Facebook event page.

After the showcase, another keynote speaker, Philippe Cousteau, is scheduled to speak in Emerson Hall at 5 p.m., according to the event page. Cousteau in an Emmy-nominated TV host, author, speaker, and social entrepreneur who has established himself as a prominent leader in the environmental movement.

Although the Sustainably Showcase seems interesting, this isn’t in his realm of interests, said UF student Nicholas Gunn a third-year finance major from Dunedin.

 “I am also super busy, and I wouldn’t want to involve my time even further,” Gunn said. 

Earth week is set to end on April 14thwith the “Green and Clean Service Learning Event,” according to the Office of Sustainability’s website. 

The Office of Sustainability goes out to one of the conservation areas around campus, Vitt said. For about two hours volunteers comb through the selected area pulling of trash and invasive plants. 

It is a cool program that UF only started running in the last two years, Vitt said. This year the event will take place at the Bartram-Carr Woods.

People interested in volunteering should arrive by 9:30 a.m., according to the event page. Snacks and refreshments will be provided for all volunteers. 

“I would go to this event because I love to be outside and I love UF's campus,” Mudger said. “I would happily spend a few hours cleaning up so that everyone can enjoy the beauty of nature as it was intended to be, and not as we have made it.”

Trash is not biodegradable and only makes the campus look dirty and undesirable, Mudger said. She thinks the event will be beneficial. 

“We are hoping to get a big group out there to cap off our campus Earth week,” Vitt said.

Mudger is definitely a supporter of UF’s Earth week, Mudger said. I would like to look into it more in hopes of attending one or two events. 

“I think that the events sound great and are going to provide greater awareness to people that attend them,” Gunn said.

The Office of Sustainability should consider marketing the event though, Gunn said.  He would have never heard of these events if it wasn’t for this interview.