U.Va. kicks of 2014 Earth Week to celebrate sustainability
Events conclude with Earth Week Expo
Tuesday marks the start of University Earth Week, a weeklong event leading up to Earth Day and the annual University Earth Week Expo.
“Earth Week is a collaborative effort between U.Va. students, faculty and staff to raise awareness around sustainability through events, lectures, exhibits and more,” University Sustainability Program Manager Nina Morris said.
This is the sixth Earth Week held at the University, according to Morris. This year’s theme is “One HellUVA Planet.” Planners call for the University community to come together to celebrate and identify ways in which everyone can contribute to a healthy planet, and students, faculty, staff and community members from more than 30 different organizations will be putting on nearly 40 events celebrating progress and innovation.
Students can get involved in a number of ways, from attending the Earth Week Expo’s Challenge for Change lecture with Environmental Science Prof. G. Carleton Ray to building a composting unit for the University community garden, Morris said.
The week kicks off Tuesday with SustainaPita, a community engagement event to discuss sustainability projects and initiatives while receiving a catered lunch. It will end with the Earth Week Expo, where representatives from the University will describe challenges facing our planet and what the University community can do to address them.
“U.Va. is one of very few universities that has such a robust Earth Week program,” said fourth-year College student Jon Torre, the 2013 Earth Week Chair. “At its core, Earth Week encourages all students — not just those that are actively involved in the sustainability community — to engage with ideas of sustainability.”
While many students and faculty members play a large role in making the University more sustainable, those involved say they are always looking for ways to engage more people and departments.
“U.Va. is engaged in a wide range of sustainability initiatives and programs across curriculum, research, co-curricular activities, planning and operations,” Sustainability Director Andrea Trimble said. “Sustainability at U.Va. includes grassroots initiatives, alignment with operational practices, as well as administrative priorities, such as U.Va.’s carbon and nitrogen reduction goals.”