Earth Fest Promises Environmentally Friendly Fun on Campus

Following the launch of a Conservation Corps to address climate change through reforestation, the annual Earth Day celebration continues to build on efforts at RWU with a day of environmental-education activities

Students explore the festival on campus.
Nadine M. Hapst ’16

BRISTOL, R.I. – On the heels of Roger Williams University announcing the launch of a student-led Conservation Corps to address climate change through reforestation, the University will continue building on sustained efforts with a day full of environmental-education activities at the annual Earth Fest on Wednesday and then join Rhode Island leaders a week later for a tree planting ceremony to celebrate 25 years of the Rhode Island Tree Council.

The University celebrates Earth Day each year as Earth Fest, which will be held on Wednesday, April 20, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the D'Angelo Common. Get your hands dirty at a tree planting demonstration by Zip Car and Bon Appétit, shop eco-friendly jewelry and canned goods made by students and staff, and sample the oyster bar, local honey and other goodies while listening to tunes from the RWU Musicians Guild or checking out the Engineering Club Student Art Dancers.

For educational activities, the RWU Eco-Reps will offer a water taste test and water pledge while National Grid will present energy-conservation tips. Any students interested in becoming more involved in conservation efforts on campus can learn about the RWU Food Recovery Network – whose mission is to collect uneaten food from the Dining Commons and bring it those in need – and the Eco-Reps’ sustainability initiatives throughout the year.

"Sustainability has long been an institutional value at Roger Williams," according to Scott Yonan, assistant to the Vice President of Student Life who coordinates the annual Earth Fest on campus. “This celebration is an opportunity to showcase some of the neat ‘green’ efforts on campus and to show people that everyone can do their part to conserve water and energy and to recycle.”  

As Eco-Reps, Emma Wightman and Olivia Hanlon lead the way to promote and educate on sustainability on campus and throughout the local community, from increased recycling efforts to water conservation and opportunities to use public transportation.

"I think that being an Eco-Rep is something that everyone should be,” Wightman said. “This planet is our home. It’s not that only certain people have an obligation to care for the Earth – we all do.”

Hanlon explained that as Eco-Reps, they speak up when they see an opportunity to cultivate a habit of recycling, as an example.

“I ask people to think about the impact of their actions,” Hanlon said. “It can make a world of difference. Even if it seems like a small action – like recycling a can instead of throwing it in the trash – it will add up.”

Roger Williams University will also participate in the Rhode Island Tree Council’s 25th anniversary celebration as part of a special Arbor Day event at the Rhode Island State House on Friday, April 29 at 11 a.m. The University will join Governor Gina Raimondo, the R.I. Department of Environmental Management, National Grid and the Newport Tree Society in a tree planting ceremony to mark the Rhode Island Tree Council’s achievements throughout the years, including the launch of a citywide arboretum in Newport which RWU is partnering to help develop. A few days earlier, on Saturday, April 23, members of the student-led Conservation Corps will lend a hand with a fruit tree planting at the Rhode Island Tree Council’s Johnston office.

Get ready for Earth Fest on Wednesday by viewing a photo slideshow below of the celebration throughout recent years.