Campus events offer earth friendly insights


Northern Kentucky University is observing Earth Week this week, and the Environmentally Concerned Organization of Students (ECOS) is celebrating by informing the student body about what it means to be green.

Earth Week is an extension of Earth Day, which is celebrated April 22. For the past eight years, ECOS members have organized Earth Day events on NKU’s campus. NKU Green, NKU Horticulture, Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement and the Center for Environmental Education helped ECOS to present some of the events.

Junior Spanish and integrative studies major Rosie Santos, who is Co-President of ECOS organized most of the events for both last year’s and this year’s Earth Week celebrations.

“It’s really important for people to stand up for what they believe in,” Santos said.

The week kicked off on April 16 with NKU playing host to 193 middle school students from Pendleton County. While on campus, the seventh graders interacted at environmental learning stations with NKU students pursuing careers in middle school education, science professors and staff from the Center for Environmental Education.

Each middle school student received a journal with questions for the individual learning stations and space for drawings and sketches. The learning stations covered subjects including recycling, microbes and a lab focused on the decline of amphibian populations.

Later that day, representatives from local businesses and the Covington mayor’s office visited campus for a panel discussion. Samantha Brown represented Northern Kentucky’s wastewater and storm water management facility, Sanitation District 1. Green Umbrella, a Cincinnati non-profit which aims to improve the region’s sustainability, was represented by Executive Director Brewster Rhoads. Mayor Pro Tem Sherry Carran spoke on behalf of the Covington mayor’s office.

With only six attendees, the panel discussion quickly became an open discussion between the panel members and the audience.
“Everybody takes our natural resources for granted, at least in the United States,” Carran said. “The way you manage them, they can be renewable, but if you don’t that’s not the case.”

The quality of natural resources, such as water and air, was a recurring topic. The discussion also touched on the cost and health benefits of sustainability.

Wednesday’s event is a food sampling and discussion on the lawn in front of Griffin Hall. The discussion will focus on the differences between local or global foods.

Costume design students and theatre and dance students will present a fashion show Thursday on the Student Union Plaza from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m. The show, “Trashy: Classy: Recycled Couture,” will feature fashion created from recycled materials collected from around campus. Some of the materials which will be incorporated into the fashion are unusable keyboards, computer cable, books and newspapers, according to the co-chair of the President’s Climate Commitment Task Force, Jane Goode.

Earth Week events will conclude Friday with a combined Earth Day and Arbor Day celebration on the Student Union Plaza from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.. The event will include a tree-planting, live music, craft-making from reused items, tye-dying and henna tattoos. More than 20 environmental vendors will be on site as well with information about volunteer and career opportunities.

Going along with this year’s Earth Week theme of “Take a Stand for Sustainability,” a soapbox will be on the plaza Friday, as well. A megaphone will be provided for students who wish to stand on the soapbox and share their Earth Day message.

“I’ve been really happy to see how it’s branched out this year,” said assistant professor of science and environmental education Steve Kerlin.