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Cleaner, greener, ecosmarter: Earth Week fair highlights meaningful impact of little actions

Johns Hopkins hosts annual showcase, with an emphasis on ecoliteracy

Johns Hopkins University student organizations and offices, Baltimore City departments, local farms, and other groups working toward a sustainable future took over Wyman Quad on Wednesday for the university's annual Earth Week Celebration Fair.

The 2017 Earth Week theme is ecoliteracy—understanding the natural systems that make life on Earth possible.

"We find that everyone, in theory, is on board and supportive of a happier, healthier, cleaner, greener planet. They want to do something about it but don't quite know what to do or how to do it."
Olivia Zug
JHU Office of Sustainability

"We find that everyone, in theory, is on board and supportive of a happier, healthier, cleaner, greener planet," said Olivia Zug, associate communications and outreach coordinator for the Johns Hopkins Office of Sustainability. "They want to do something about it but don't quite know what to do or how to do it."

Exhibitors at Wednesday's event were there to show them:

  • Baltimore Energy Challenge gave away energy saving gadgets, including light bulbs, outlet timers, and water-saving bags for toilets
  • The Office of Multicultural Affairs asked students trivia questions about the intersection of environmental and social justice in exchange for free packets of tomato seeds
  • Student Leadership and Involvement crafted dog toys—which were later donated to the Maryland SPCA—and reusable shopping bags from leftover t-shirts
  • Community Living promoted its new move-out recycling event that will take place next month

"The point of this fair is … to help people understand how their little actions add up. And now that they care about the planet, how they can do something to improve it," Zug said.

Real Food Hopkins hosted its annual Veg Fest, a live cooking demonstration and competition featuring chefs from Baltimore City. Each chef was paired with a student representative from sustainable groups on campus.

Teams included:

"It's a time to come together and recognize that Earth Day is here, and get a chance to reflect on what we're doing as a university … [and] what you can do individually," said Ashley Pennington, program manager for the Office of Sustainability. "We really just want it to be something that is fun, [a chance for people] to learn ... ways to get involved and what they can do to live a little bit lighter."

Today the office will host the annual Green Blue Jay Awards Ceremony to recognize "champions who have gone above and beyond to make Hopkins more eco-smart." The Office of Multicultural Affairs and Johns Hopkins Outdoors Club will host a screening of the documentary How to Let Go of the World and Love All the Things Climate Can't Change this evening.

A full list of the remaining Earth Week events is available online.

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