Enviromental Clubs Celebrate Spring; Kick Off Campaigns

Samuel Kessler
Staff Writer

Goucher College’s Earth Day and Earth Night celebrations were held Saturday, April 20. Students organized the celebrations. They were intended to raise awareness and fundraise for environmental clubs and their current campaigns.

Leila Hanna-Kohen ‘15 runs GEAR’s interactive paint balloon popping piece. (Photo: Romy Ackerberg)

Leila Hanna-Kohen ‘15 runs GEAR’s interactive paint balloon popping piece. (Photo: Romy Ackerberg)

Earth Day took place on the residential quad. Six clubs—Imagine More, the Agriculture Co-Op, GEAR, Goucher Outdoor Society, Yearbook Club, and Bollywood Club; two special interest houses—Peace House and Green House; and one outside vendor—a scarf-maker, attended and tabled the sparsely attended, but lively event. While the celebration was scheduled from one to five p.m., the festivities only began in earnest around two p.m.

Earth Day was sponsored and organized by Earthworks, a club organized “to help the campus reduce its greenhouse gas emissions,” according to Goucher’s website.

“The goal of Earth Day was to have an environment for people to enjoy an Open Mic, the spring sunshine, student led activities, and to give Goucher students an opportunity to celebrate the Earth,” student leader of Earthworks Chesna Mandi wrote in an email.

“[Earth Day] was fantastic. … We all enjoyed being outside, and playing with colors, and celebrating the Earth,” Mohsin Ahmad, co-president of Imagine More, wrote in an email.

Imagine More’s goals for Earth Day were jointly to fundraise for the Barclay Gardening program and to encourage Goucher and Future Latino Learning Center students to paint a vision for the earth that ”will make the earth happy,” Ahmad wrote. The club rolled out newsprint and provided paint and brushes, and students flocked around the makeshift canvas.

Imagine More seeks to “create a space where people from Goucher, Baltimore, and all around the world can come together and imagine, connect, reflect, and inspire,” Ahmad wrote. Currently, they are also organizing a new leadership program for the Barclay tutoring program eight graders.

“Everyday is Earth Day! But our celebration was great! … It was great to be a part of something that brought so many groups and individuals together in celebration of the environment and sustainability!” wrote Co-Op president Todd Troester and SGA representative Billy Daly in an email.

Co-Op’s goal for Earth Day was “to get people excited about plants and nature!” they wrote. At Earth Day, the Co-Op handed out northeastern wildflower seed bombs and flowerpots. They also grilled turkey and veggie burgers and made homemade laundry detergent.

“Ag Co-Op’s purpose is to help Goucher become more food sustainable and to reduce the college’s environmental impact by replacing industrially farmed food from off-campus with organically grown food on-campus,” according to Daly and Troester. This past semester they sold produce to Bon Appetit. Currently, they are expanding the community garden and plan to build a fence after the expansion.

GEAR, the Goucher Energy Action Revolution, had a table at Earth Day as well. They sold cupcakes and organized a balloon popping art piece to raise money and gathered divestment petition signatures.

Their goals were to have fun with activities, “but also share information about divestment,“ wrote GEAR treasurer Delaney Green in an email.

GEAR also organized Earth Night, which was held on the Pearlstone lawn. Goucher’s Reverend’s Rebels, Hip Hop Team, and Lady and the Bear played at Earth Night, as well as the local bands Foozle, Real2Real, and J Pope and Funk Friday—which was formed at Goucher when the musicians were students.

“At Earth Night, GEAR’s purpose was to throw a kick-off party for our fossil fuel divestment campaign [and] celebrate our achievements thus far as a club … we all need a little fun.

“First of all, I just hope people had a good time at Earth Night, but also I hope that ‘Power Shift’ and ‘Divestment’ and some other key words are kind of buzzing around campus,” wrote Green.

One of GEAR’s current goals is to sign students up for Power Shift. Last year, they were proud to bring more students to Power Shift 2012 than any other college campus, including the host college, University of North Carolina—Asheville.

“Come fall, we want to see lots of folks at Power Shift—like 100 people—and we want to see lots of students supporting Divestment, and hopefully Earth Night was one way to reach some of those people. … We hope that many of the Goucher students that go to Power Shift will then help strengthen our Divestment campaign,” wrote Green.

GEAR’s other current goal is to request Goucher divest from fossil fuel. Divestment entails terminating all Goucher’s investments in fossil fuel companies in the next seven years. GEAR hopes to put a negative screen, which would block any new investments in fossil fuel, on investments within a year.

“The reasons to divest are more about making a social/political statement than they are about actually having a direct effect on the fossil fuel companies. … Divesting from these companies is a way for our generation to say that we will not stand for the continued support of the fossil fuel industry,” wrote Chesna Mandi, who is also an active member of GEAR’s divestment campaign.

“Sterling College, Hampshire College, College of the Atlantic and Unity College along with 11 cities and various other communities and institutions have all committed to fully divest from fossil fuels,” Mandi continued.

“I thought [Earth Night] was pretty successful. … It was a pretty good turnout,” said SGA representative Eric Sargent. “Anyone’s who’s interested should [come to GEAR] and become involved.”

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