Early Earth Day: USF Brings Students and Sustainability Together

The bicycles in Gleeson Plaza on April 19 were, physically, going nowhere. One was powering a blender making a smoothie, one was being repaired by a student, and several students were riding to power the giant speakers blasting music for USF’s annual Earth Day celebration.


Three days before the real Earth Day on April 22, clubs and organizations from both on and off campus came together to celebrate and promote a clean environment. The Office of Sustainability, USF Rock Climbing Club, Health Promotion Services and several more groups gathered during dead hour to table for USF’s own Earth Day celebration.


Richard Hsu, the coordinator for the Office of Sustainability, handed out T-shirts to students who turned in a completed punch card, which indicated that they had visited every table at the fair. “We celebrate Earth Day to highlight important environmental issues and encourage the campus community to be more mindful of how our everyday actions affect the health of our planet and, in turn, everyone on it,” Hsu said. “It’s also a good opportunity for USF to showcase the work that our students are doing around sustainability and the environment.”


KUSF DJs set the soundtrack for the event while students designed their own free recyclable bags and discovered the hidden treasure of the USF Seed Library, where they took home succulents to adorn their window sills.


While nonprofits such as The Humane League and Greenpeace were in attendance, many student organizations were focused on specific, accessible ways to combat global warming. Sophomore psychology major Kai Hennings is a Breathe Easy USF clean air marshal, as supervised by Health Promotion Services. “Smoking is an environmental issue as well as a health issue. Cutting back on smoking in the population would reduce plastic waste and environmental litter,” Hennings said. Breathe Easy does student outreach for USF’s no-smoking policy, such as cigarette butt cleanup days. “It’s important to take care of our earth, and it’s not our planet to trash. We aren’t Earth’s landlords, we are her tenant and she is going to kick us out,” Hennings said.  


Junior communications major Lillian Tu tabled for USF’s new Yoga Club. “We believe that yoga and environmentalism are very much interconnected,” she said. “Not only does the practice of yoga help increase awareness and mindfulness in your daily habits, it also empowers people to take action in adjusting their behaviors for the protection of the planet.”


Mardy Harding contributed to the reporting in this article.


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