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BU Celebrates Earth Day 2016

Festival promotes local solutions to climate change


More than 2,000 people are expected to fill the GSU Plaza today as the University celebrates its sixth annual Earth Day Festival. Hosted by sustainability@BU, the event runs from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Students will be able to learn about sustainability-related programming on campus and enjoy free food, prizes, and giveaways, among them reusable bags, water bottles, and plants. Visitors can sample chowder made with sustainable seafood, shop for clothes at a pop-up used clothing store, and buy fresh produce at the BU Farmers Market.

The festival is part of Earth Week+, a two-week initiative promoting sustainability through a series of seminars, symposiums, and volunteer projects, as well as a special menu in the residence dining halls featuring locally sourced, sustainable seafood and organic food products.

“The Earth Day Festival is an opportunity for the BU community to get to know more about sustainability efforts here on campus as well as within the greater Boston community, and to share the love of the Earth,” says Lisa Tornatore (CAS’02), BU’s sustainability outreach coordinator.

The theme of this year’s festival is Local Solutions to Climate Change in Boston.

“The theme has been on our radar for a really long time,” says Tornatore. “The city of Boston itself is a leader in sustainability and in developing strategies for mitigating climate change, but also in providing opportunities for the greater Boston community to contribute to solutions and to climate adaptation models.”

Most of the programming for the festival was organized by sustainability@BU’s student interns, led this year by Lindsey Chew (Questrom’16) and Alexandra Chin (CAS’18).

“I love the Earth Day Festival because of its diversity of activities,” says Chew. “The many different events available at the festival underscore the idea that sustainability is a unifying force and a constructive lens to solve problems and create new opportunities for whatever topic you are passionate about. Almost everything can be made more sustainable. From the way we source our food to the supply chain of our clothing and our daily means of transportation, there is opportunity for innovation and improved efficiency everywhere.”

Among the outside vendors taking part in this year’s event are the Boston Vegetarian Society, Green Streets Initiative, Save That Stuff, and Park & Pedal. Also participating are more than a dozen BU student groups and departments, including the BU Outing Club, Earth House, BU Energy Club, and the used clothing pop-up shop UNItiques, created by Alexandra Shadrow (CGS’12, COM’15).


Stainless steel coffee mugs from sustainability@BU are among the many prizes and giveaways at this year’s Earth Day Festival. Photo by Cydney Scott

Sustainability@BU is once again partnering with BU Dining Services for Chowda Throwdown, a contest pitting executive chefs from each residence dining hall against one another to see whose chowder will be voted best on campus.

The BU Institute for Sustainable Energy will host a presentation, Climate Change Policy after Paris, with Ken Berlin, president and CEO of the Climate Reality Project, a nonprofit dedicated to finding global solutions to the climate crisis. The seminar is in the Questrom Auditorium from 4 to 6 p.m.

“When it comes to climate change, it can often seem all doom and gloom—when there are great strides being taken against it every day,” says Chin. “This is a day to celebrate and inform others about the innovations and projects that have been going on to slow down climate change and the actions that they can take to help as well. It’s a fun way to celebrate all that we’ve done and all that we will do.”

The day ends with the ElectrifyBU Party, sponsored by the Environmental Student Organization. The event, designed to reduce energy consumption in dorm rooms, is at 7 p.m. in CAS Room 442 and will feature games and prizes.

On Friday, there will be a digital tweet-a-thon using the hashtag #CleanEnergyU, where students can tweet their questions to global sustainability leaders like Joel Makower, chair of GreenBiz, and Amit Ronen from the George Washington University Solar Institute. That event runs from noon to 4 p.m.

Saturday offers a great chance to get your hands dirty—literally—doing something good for the environment. Members of the BU Marine Program (BUMP) and the Marine Science Association are looking for volunteers to help clean up Revere Beach. BUMP Beach Day is at 3 p.m. on April 23.

The sixth annual Earth Day Festival is today, Thursday, April 21, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the GSU Plaza, 775 Commonwealth Ave. Find a full list of events and details here.

Jennifer Bates can be reached at jennb7@bu.edu.


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