Sustainable Campus Day, Farmers' Market Today to Cultivate Green Living

AUC's Sustainable Campus Day and Farmer's Market invites the University and local communities to learn about green initiative
AUC's Sustainable Campus Day and Farmer's Market invites the University and local communities to learn about green initiative

This year’s Sustainable Campus Day is making waves in Bartlett Plaza. A daylong event organized by the Research Institute for a Sustainable Environment (RISE) and AUC’s Sustainable Campus Committee, Sustainable Campus Day spotlights green initiatives on campus and in the local community. This year’s focus is on water and electricity conservation, and includes a Wave Droplet Flash Mob, where people are invited to “put on some blue and do the wave,” and a Farmers' Market with more than 20 local vendors.

“We want to help the AUC Community visualize their water and electricity usage,” explained Zander Pellegrino, presidential intern at RISE and head organizer of the event. “It’s not just the water that comes out of the tap or the lights in our classrooms. We use water and electricity that we may not see going into these activities, and depending on the way we live our lives, like the types of food we eat or how we get around, that amount can be much, much more than we may think. It’s what we call virtual water and embodied energy.”

New to Sustainable Campus Day, the Wave Droplet Flash Mob at 1:30 pm in front of the School of Sciences and Engineering aims to promote water conservation by inviting the AUC community to “put on some blue and do the wave.” “Each one of us is a droplet, and as all of the droplets come together, we become a wave, physically and symbolically,” Pellegrino explained. “Even though your individual actions may not save Egypt or the world all at once, together we can be part of this wave of change that will continue to produce ripples later on.”

In addition, individuals can add their handprint to the wave droplet banner, using blue paint to symbolize the community’s commitment to water conservation.

Students, faculty and staff will also have the opportunity to see just how much energy is needed to produce the electricity we use everyday. “We have rowing machines set up for people to use and see just how much effort it takes to produce the same wattage as a battery. It’s more than you would think,” Pellegrino explained. “To put things in perspective, a hair dryer uses 1150 watts.”

Throughout the day, there will also be a Farmers’ Market with 20 sustainable vendors from around the city selling vegetables, smoothies and more from vendors such as The Dancing Bean, Raw Republic and Yummy Yumm.  With interest growing around the local community, RISE plans to host a second farmers’ market in December, Pellegrino noted. “Our farmers’ market is one of the more affordable options in the area for local sustainable producers," he said. "We want to include all types of farmers in our events and expect even more of our neighbors to join us in December. ”

Proceeds from RISE’s sales throughout the day will benefit their Kid's Environmental Education Program (KEEP) Orphans Program. This program organizes environmental education events and fun learning activities on campus where orphans learn about sustainability and conservation.

Sustainable Campus Day is just one way to get involved in conservation at AUC, Pellegrino noted, pointing out opportunities throughout the year. “RISE is a research institute, but our affiliation with AUC and its community is very important to what we do. Sustainability is not just an idea, but something you live everyday, and we want to show our AUC community how they can live greener lives, whether it's through research like our Living Learning Lab, community farming like Adopt-A-Plot or coming to the Sustainable Campus Committee meetings.”

Sustainable Campus Day marks an important opportunity to bring the AUC community together. “We want start a community-wide conversation about sustainability that can last throughout the year. A chemistry major might talk to a business major or a sociology major, and together they may come up with new ways to make AUC and our community more green."