Loyola celebrates Earth Week

Jenna Riess, Staff Writer

A team of Loyola students, faculty, and staff collaborated for eight months to plan and execute a variety of events for students for Earth Week, according to Aimee Thomas, director of the environment program and Earth week at Loyola.

Earth week celebrations were established in 1970 in order to make changes within government to protect the environment, according to EarthDay.org. Environment Program Director Craig Hood said implementing these celebrations had a large influence on the future of environmental education and awareness for students, at Loyola and around the world.

Earth Week events included interactive experiences in nature, like a bat walk and canoe trip, while others were more formal educational events. The funding for these events came from monetary donations and volunteer services from different student organizations. Student Government Association funded $1000 towards the events for Earth Week according to Thomas.

Thomas said that each year includes a featured speaker, featured alumni and a party in the university greenhouse but that the rest of events planned are based on what students want. She said she hopes that Earth Week engages students of all interests and backgrounds to learn and care for humanity’s common home on Earth.

“I definitely hope students gain a better appreciation for Earth and caring for our common home,” Thomas said.

This year is also the first time during Loyola Earth Week that there was a student-led sustainability panel, according to Thomas. The panel featured professors at Loyola who had different backgrounds of study in order for students of non-STEM backgrounds to be able to see their potential for an impact on the movement as well, Thomas said.

The sustainability panel was led by Former SGA Vice President Tyler Sanchez and Stephanie Oblena, who is the chair of the SGA sustainability committee and a senator-at-large, who led an open discussion with questions surrounding sustainability, focusing on both inadequate and sufficient forms of politics, personal action and form of thought about the environment when it comes to our impact.

“I want to make sure that the greater Loyola community understands the interdisciplanary approach to environmental issues,” Thomas said.

Neuropsychology freshman Madison Trippi said she appreciates campus Earth Week events because of the university’s urban location, surrounded by environmental pollution that can cause a loss of connection with nature. She said that Earth Week at the university provides students with valuable knowledge and experience, enabling them to have futures in environmental activism.

“Our generation can make so many changes,” Trippi said.

Some events pulled students out of the classroom and into nature, like the Bat Walk, where students searched for bats around the city, led by Hood. Hood emphasized the importance of the bigger picture of taking care of the environment for our own mental and physical wellbeing, but he also made it a point to discuss the importance of animal lives.

“We should care about these areas to help sustain some of these species for their own sake,” Hood said.

Music Industry Junior Tess Cunningham, who attended the bat walk, said Earth Week helped build community and show students the importance of maintaining the environment around them.

“A lot of people do care ,Cunningham said. “They just don’t know how to help since it is such a big issue.”

Economics Sophomore Matthew Modisette said that Earth Week allowed him to appreciate the connection between humans and nature. He said that it was an opportunity for students to go past just learning about nature but also being actively observant and involved in the nature around them.

“If you learn to love nature, you can fight for it,” Modisette said.