Earth Week activities under way

While many Americans tend to be mindful of good stewardship year round, Earth Week is set aside each spring to inspire and increase awareness and appreciation for the natural environment.

At Mississippi State this week week [April 18-21], the national observance will include lectures, tours, exhibits, and music. Activities are being organized and sponsored by the university's Environmental Collaborative Office and Students for a Sustainable Campus, along with the Green Starkville organization.

Jeremiah Dumas, environmental collaborative office director, said the general theme this year could best be termed "working together to make a difference."

"The idea is to bring everyone together through collaboration," he said. "We can make a bigger difference working together."

Citing an example of policy changes that are making a difference on campus, he pointed to a recycling program that recently replaced most trash containers with recycling receptacles.

By university administrators, staff, faculty and students working together, the campus will continue to produce less waste and use less energy, he said.

Two years ago, MSU President Mark E. Keenum signed an agreement--the American Colleges and Universities Presidential Climate Commitment--to pursue the university becoming carbon neutral.

Dumas said energy use makes up about 75 percent of campus carbon emissions, while the remainder involves campus transportation.

Robbie Ward | University Relations

Highlighting the campus events will be the third annual Earth Day Fair, to take place 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday [the 21st] along the Old Main Plaza between the Colvard Student Union and Marketplace at Perry cafeteria. A variety of exhibits will be staffed by student organizations, local businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Various academic departments will also share information about their sustainability-related research activities. One display will feature the three winners of a Dunn-Seiler Museum contest for the best use of plastic water containers. Sponsored by the geosciences department, the competition invited participation by state elementary and high schools.

The Aramark Corp. will feature vegan and vegetarian meals at Perry and at its sister dining facility at the Templeton Athletic Academic Center.

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