College marks 40th anniversary of Earth Day

With Earth Week well under way, the students of Mercyhurst College have plenty of opportunities to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Earth Day.

“Chaired by Analida Braeger, the Earth Day Committee of the Green Team has worked hard to put together a fun and dynamic series of events that address a number of the environmental challenges that now confront us,” History Department chair and Green Team adviser Dr. Chris Magoc said.

Among other things, the Green Team will celebrate the Class of 2010’s gift of the Green Roof. The Green Team is also announcing that beginning this summer, 100 percent of the college’s electricity will be derived from wind energy, making Mercyhurst one of just five colleges in Pennsylvania to go 100 percent wind.

Freshman Sacha Chadwick spoke about her plans to celebrate Earth Week.

“I plan to go to a program that will allow us to plant flowers and grow them,” Chadwick said. “I’m also gardening at a local garden near North East with my lab classes.”

Though, like many other students, Chadwick didn’t know that any other Earth Week events are going on.

Actually, there are plenty of events on campus to celebrate Earth Week.

At 4:45 p.m., Wednesday, students can attend a jewelry and T-shirt recycling workshop as well as make homemade laundry detergent in the Mercyhurst Student Government Chambers.

Also, key speaker Denis Hayes will visit Mercyhurst on Wednesday.

Hayes, who organized the first Earth Day and whom Time Magazine has called a “Hero of the Planet,” will hold a discussion titled “Earth Day Legacies” at 3:30 p.m. in the Mercy Heritage Room.

Then, at 7:30 p.m. in Taylor Little Theatre, Hayes will present the college’s 2010 Sister Maura Smith Earth Day Lecture.

“Denis Hayes will address some of the lessons that can be learned from the historic achievements of the environmental movement of the 1960s and ’70s, as well as offer an assessment of some of the great challenges facing the nation and world today, particularly with respect to renewable energy and climate change,” Magoc said.

On Thursday, the Green Team will celebrate Earth Day’s 40th Birthday with a college community party in the Herrmann Student Union from 8-11 p.m.

A Local Products Fair, where local vendors will showcase everything from buffalo burgers to farm goods, will take place at Garvey Park on Friday. The event, which will last from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., demonstrates the importance of re-localizing the food industry for a more sustainable future.

There will be a Hike for Haiku in Wintergreen Gorge at 10 a.m. Saturday. Participants should bring a packed lunch and meet outside the Mary D’Angelo Performing Arts Center for transportation to the Gorge. The guided hike will teach about wildflowers, edible plants and haiku poetry.

The Earth Week events end with the film “Earth Days” on Monday at 3:30 p.m. in Zurn Hall Room 314. The documentary follows the history of the modern environmental movement from its beginnings on April 22, 1970.

All of the Earth Week events are free and open to the public.

“I can’t think of another time of year when core values and the mission of the college are more clearly expressed,” Magoc said.

“Earth Week activities will challenge us to think about the interconnections of our respective academic disciplines toward the natural world (and) to ponder our shared responsibility with the six and one-half billion people with whom we share this planet to pass on a more secure future to our children,” Magoc said.