The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Upcoming Earth Week encourages students to partake in sustainable practices and environment friendly activities

3 min read
White lawn chair hidden underneath canopy of two trees' leaves.

With the sun shining bright, many spots around campus present outdoor studying or reading spaces for students. Grace Wagner | The Weekly Ringer


Staff Writer

From April 19–26, UMW will celebrate Earth Week on campus during which various student organizations focused on sustainability will host educational activities and volunteer opportunities to learn more about the planet and encourage everyone to do their part in being more sustainable.

Earth Week is a time to think about one’s relationship with the natural world. This can be through learning new sustainable practices, such as planting trees on College Avenue in front of the University Center with the President’s Council on Sustainability on Friday, April 19.

“Having an appreciation for what the world around us can provide is so essential to building an interest in protecting it,” said Annisa Molnar, a sophomore international affairs and religious studies double major and vice president of Botany Club. 

Furthermore, Earth Day is important because focusing on UMW’s sustainable practices now will allow for a long-lasting, clean energy campus environment for students. It also helps foster a collective sense of community between Eagles on campus. 

“I think we have an obligation to do what we can to restore habitats, reduce pollution, and minimize negative environmental impacts,” said Professor and Chair of English Johnathan Levin.

Caring for our planet and ultimately our future extends beyond Earth Week, and there are many ways for students to get involved with the University’s sustainability mission. By joining clubs and organizations on campus that are focused on sustainability and the Earth’s conservation, such as the President’s Council on Sustainability, students can continue their efforts toward a more sustainable future.  

“I think we have an obligation to do what we can to restore habitats, reduce pollution, and minimize negative environmental impacts,” said Professor and Chair of English Johnathan Levin.

On Saturday, April 20 from 9 a.m.–noon, students can volunteer through Community Outreach and Resources to help with service projects that benefit UMW’s campus environment. One of these volunteer opportunities with COAR includes a cleanup of the pollinator garden behind Goolrick Hall with the President’s Council on Sustainability; breakfast will be provided.

According to Kate Stoneman, a sophomore environmental science major and co-chair of UMW’s President’s Council on Sustainability, students can get involved by reaching out to the Council’s co-chairs, such as themself or Kevin Caffrey, the senior associate registrar.

PCS’s core goals are to make campus more sustainable, and Earth Week is a time when they can showcase what they have been working towards and recruit new members. 

“We’re trying to implement the Climate Action Plan that was created by the Climate Action Task Force last year. Just making sure that it stays on the President’s Cabinet radar because that’ll look into renewables for campus energy efficiency and much more,” said Stoneman.

By participating in Earth Week and joining groups focused on more sustainable practices, UMW students can contribute to making campus a better place for Mary Washington’s future. The first step to becoming more sustainable and getting involved is as simple as showing up.

“We are doing this in hopes to foster an opportunity to enjoy the start of the spring weather, relax in the wake of upcoming finals, and possibly learn about some of the native plants blooming around us,” said Molnar.

On Monday, April 22, there will be an Earth Day Festival where many clubs and student organizations will be promoting their sustainable involvement at UMW all over campus, such as Botany Club, which will be on the Alvey Green from noon–3 p.m. The club is also leading an easy nature walk along the Rappahannock River Trail on Wednesday, April 24. 

“Activities such as the Earth Day Festival and weekly volunteer opportunities open a door to so many useful resources and connections that can help you not only get involved and take leadership but also inspire appreciation for why your involvement is so important,” said Molnar. 

The only way that Earth Week can truly be effective is for students to show up. The more people that attend, the more awareness that can be spread about our impact on the world around us.

“Let’s celebrate nature and lay the foundation for future generations to be able to celebrate it too,” said Levin.