Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Last Tuesday, March 31, Earthlust concluded its first ever GREENmarch and deemed it a success in increasing awareness on Swarthmore’s campus about environmental sustainability. The campaign featured a collaboration between many of Swarthmore’s groups including GoodFood, Environmental Justice, and SLAP.
This collaboration allowed for a diverse range of activities throughout March to raise awareness about sustainability and our environment. A Sharples take-over presented almost all vegetarian options to students and GoodFood composted all of the post-consumer waste, which is something that is not normally done. GoodFood and Earthlust hosted an organic food Parlor Party where students planted seeds from the student garden, such as carrots, spinach, sunflowers, basil, and peppers, in recycled containers. Jamie Hansen-Lewis ’10, a member of GoodFood, said of the Parlor Party, “It went really well. We wanted to get information about the student garden out and people love having plants in their room, so we thought edible plants was a good starting place.” Added Camille Rogine ’11, “the Parlor Party went very well and it was full of students eager to eat healthy, local, organic food from a farm. It was amazing to see people eating so happily, healthily, and with seedlings in the making.”
In addition to these food activities, GREENmarch sponsored many other programs. Three marches were held in Chester against air pollution, water pollution, and the building of a new stadium, and Environmental Justice broke ground in Chester for the new community garden. A Green Roof tour was held with the arboretum and students also got to see where the college composts. A farming panel was also held the Monday after spring break where students could learn about agricultural jobs and opportunities and discuss agricultural practices. Earthlust also hosted a rave and students gathered in Olde Club to spend an hour together in the dark for Earth hour.
Now that GREENmarch is over, there are still ways that students can improve sustainability.
“We should focus on reducing energy consumption in ways we can currently manage. All of us can make sure we turn off the lights in Kohlberg and Beardsley, and limiting the amount of lights left on makes a huge difference,” said Rogine. “As we’ve seen from Earth Hour, just 60 minutes of lights off can make a huge difference in energy consumption. Sustainability needs to be a coordinated, collaborative effort between the students and the administration, each making efforts to develop responsible and innovative solutions to saving energy.”
Students can also help plant in the student garden, which will be having a big opening during Parent’s Weekend.
As a first-year program, GREENmarch was certainly effective. “I’m really happy with the results,” said Rogine, “We will definitely make it a tradition.”