UC Berkeley celebrates Earth Week with series of events

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A variety of events are being held at UC Berkeley leading up to Earth Day on Sunday, including a concert, environmental workshops and a Sustainability Summit featuring remarks from UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau.

Each day of Cal Earth Week — sponsored by the ASUC Sustainability Team — has its own theme, starting on Monday with a focus on personal changes people on campus can make. The scope of the themes are expanding to include Berkeley, California, national and global issues with accompanying events, according to Meredith Jacobson, co-coordinator of Cal Earth Week.

Students earn stickers on passports provided by volunteers for every event they attend and can win prizes such as concert tickets and local restaurant vouchers after turning in the passports on Friday.

“We made 200 passports and have handed out 150,” Jacobson said. “Overall, we wanted to make Earth Week bigger and better than last year. We wanted people to actually take notice of this week, and we did.”

Students who came to the Cal Earth Week table on Sproul Plaza were asked to sign a pledge to lead a more sustainable lifestyle and received green stickers on their Cal IDs from the Little Green Book for discounts at local green businesses. They could also play games to win prizes donated by the community.

A discussion was also scheduled for Wednesday night about students running successful environmental campaigns across California, according to Jacobson.

Additionally, the sustainability summit — organized by the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability — is scheduled to take place Thursday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. in Sutardja Dai Hall, highlighting over 20 campus sustainability initiatives.

At the summit, Birgeneau will speak about sustainability on campus and then present this year’s Green Fund Grants and Sustainability Awards to staff, faculty, students and organizations, according to Lisa McNeilly, director of the campus Office of Sustainability. A panel discussion with campus alumni now working in the sustainability sector will follow, McNeilly said.

Co-coordinator of Cal Earth Week Monica Barin said the best event of the week was the kickoff concert by Big Tree, a local indie, pop and rock band, which occurred Monday night on Lower Sproul.

Sustainability is a multifaceted problem, and even when people focus on one area, it seems like an ongoing effort that does not end, McNeilly said. She added that this week is an opportunity for the campus to celebrate its environmental successes and cumulative work.

“I would like students to walk away from this week with the understanding that you don’t have to be an environmentalist to engage in the issues we are dealing with and make a difference,” Jacobson said.

 

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