Seton Hall’s Ecology Club hosted the annual Eco-Fest on the Green to celebrate Earth Day, on April 18.
Festivities throughout the day included a yoga class, music, tabling to promote various environmental issues and a Ben & Jerry’s truck.
Environmental studies students participated in tabling to raise awareness to the SHU community about issues pertaining to the environment, including Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and Palm Oil.
Students who visited the GMO table were able to sample honey, tortilla chips and seaweed wraps, all of which were organic and naturally made products. Also, presenters positioned at tables made posters and spoke with students and informed them on GMOs’ negative effects on the environment and consumers.
The community then congregated around the seal to hold a gratitude circle at 2 p.m., where they expressed their appreciation for Mother Nature and her beauty and abundance.
In addition, attendees made a necklace using string and bamboo and placed a small plant inside. This served as a representation of holding nature close to your heart, according to Wanda Knapik, associate professor of environmental studies and advisor of the Ecology Club.
Knapik shared in an email that the event was successful and received significant student turnout. Given that this was SHU’s fourth celebration, Knapik was ecstatic and said the events only get better with each year.
She also hoped that those who participated in the day’s festivities realized that environmental change is easier than they think.
“There are many easy simple steps we each can take individually that will add up to make a big difference collectively: eat less red meat, don’t eat packaged food that contains Palm Oil or GMO’s, and eat fermented food, it’s good for you,” Knapik said.
She assured that next year, Eco-Fest would be held on Earth Day. It was not done so this year because Earth Day fell on a Sunday.
President of the Ecology Club, Gabrielle Hunt, a senior diplomacy and environmental studies major, was also enthused that many enjoyed the event.
“My favorite part of Ecofest is always the free Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, because I think it’s such a great opportunity to get people interested in what the broader message of sustainable and ecologically-conscious decision-making is,” Hunt said in an email. “They come for free ice cream, and hopefully leave more knowledgeable about environmental issues and companies that practice corporate social responsibility.”
Violet Reed, a third-year english major, took in the event with her Student Government Association (SGA) initiative, Blue Goes Green. Reed tabled during the event to inform students of ways they can enact environmentally friendly habits.
One way in which Reed promoted these habits was by passing out free reusable cups. In fact, Reed said that students can bring these cups to Dunkin Donuts on campus, where they will receive a discount on their beverage.
“I would have to say I enjoyed talking to students about Blue Goes Green,” Reed said in an email. “It’s honestly been hard to get students to understand the contexts of our initiatives. We’re not here to just give out free cups, stickers, etc. We give these things out as a means to an end. So, to reduce plastic waste, to be a more conscious consumer, etc.”
Jennifer Hobeika, a junior biology and psychology major who attended Eco-Fest, said in an email that she enjoyed how she was able to speak and learn more about environmental issues. She said she hopes this event will start a “ripple-effect” to increase discussion about these topics.
Hannah Sakha can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.