Earth Day events, activities hosted on OSU campus

Freshman Nina Brady (Left) and Brianna Santillan spend their sunny afternoon hammocking in McNary field on March 30. Josh Norris, the director of the Adventure Leadership Institute, said spending time in green spaces can be important for a student’s mental health and wellbeing.

Riley LeCocq, News Reporter

Oregon State University celebrates the week leading up to Earth Day with sustainability events and advises students on how they can be sustainable year-round.

Community Engagement and Leadership will host the Beyond Earth Day week-long event that will start with a day of service on April 16, the Saturday prior to Earth Day on April 22. 

“This year is the 52nd anniversary of Earth Day,” said Clark Chesshir, the special projects coordinator at CEL. “In 1970, communities came together across the country to collectively address the many environmental crises the country faced. Here at OSU, students hosted an entire week of events and a public recycling collection event, efforts that led to a campus-wide recycling collection program that served as a model and driver for recycling efforts at OSU, in Corvallis, for the state of Oregon, and even across the country.”

This year’s week of celebration will have a Beyond Earth Day Community Fair on April 19, bringing together campus partners focused on Earth’s ecosystems, social equity, social justice and wellness. 

“At the Community Fair, local organizations will provide interactive and engaging activities,” Chesshir said. “On-campus groups who have registered include the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Native Americans in Science, Waste Watchers, PERIOD @ OSU, OSU Surplus Property and Transportation Services.”

Lily Butler, the outreach program assistant for Materials Management at OSU, said their participation in the community fair will include a booth to learn about or join Waste Watchers club as well as a chance to win prizes such as reusable containers and stickers. 

Chesshir said speaking with these groups is a great way for students to get involved and learn more about sustainability on campus. 

According to Maria Arellano, the CEL program specialist, this year is exciting not only because the event returns to an in-person format but also because many of the groups joining the fair are new.

“We strive to provide students with opportunities that help them grow such as leadership workshops and immersive programs, in addition to providing volunteer opportunities with no requirements to build connections with other students and the local community,” Arellano said. “At CEL, we believe that everyone’s actions matter and all OSU students have the ability to shape the world.”

According to Andrea Norris, the marketing and development coordinator for OSU Materials Management, there are many ways students can get involved with sustainability on campus. 

“There are a ton of clubs whose work supports sustainability,” Norris said. “Key players on campus include Materials Management and the Waste Watchers club for waste reduction; Associated Students of OSU for advocacy work; Transportation Services for alternative transportation… I would also encourage students to take sustainability-focused classes or consider the Sustainability Double Degree to engage through your time in the classroom at OSU.” 

One place students can engage in sustainability and green spaces year-round is through the Adventure Leadership Institute. The ALI hosts classes and trips in a variety of excursions simply to get students out into nature. 

“In all of our classes, both the introductory and advanced ones, we talk about practices that make it easier for our environment to carry a heavier load of human interaction or traffic,” said Josh Norris, director of the ALI.

According to Norris, it is important for everyone but especially students’ mental and physical well-being to simply spend time in green spaces.

“Building affinity towards those natural spaces we know builds allegiance and builds behavior change, so in that way, we are trying to invite people towards how they want to connect with a natural space,” Norris said. 

While ALI may not host any specific Earth Day events, they offer another way for students to get involved with sustainability on campus outside of Earth Day.

“[It’s important to] remember not just what we are here trying to advocate for, but also how we are taking an active part in interacting with that in a way we can sustain,” Josh Norris said.