Environmental awareness took on a fun and festive feel April 6 as the Earth Day Fair drew people on campus to Plaza Vaquero through music, games, prizes and information booths with colorful and interesting displays. The event was one of the highlights in the month-long EcoFest celebration.
EcoFest, spearheaded by the Students’Association for Global Awareness (SAGA), features a series of lectures, film viewings and workshops designed to promote environmental awareness on campus during the entire month of April. The Fair, which is usually held on Earth Day itself, took place on an earlier date this year because the official Earth Day, April 22, fell on the week of spring break, according to SAGA’s president Gloria Tapia.
“We’ve been planning these events since winter,” said Tapia. “It’s an entire month of eco-friendly events.” The theme for this year’s Earth Day, according to Tapia, is climate change.
“I personally don’t think that students have much knowledge about what’s happening around the world,” Tapia added. “So we worked together with the Science Center and decided to do everything bigger and better this year.”
Various nonprofit organizations and environmental groups came to campus to set up information tables along the Plaza and hand out materials on a variety of ecological topics such as energy and water conservation and ocean and forest preservation. These groups include Heal the Bay, TreePeople, Verdugo Hills Sierra Club and City of Glendale Water and Power.
The City of Glendale Water and Power representatives even gave out free light bulbs that use up less electricity, and the school’s Honors Biology Club put up an exhibit on “Is Bottled Water Eco-Friendly?”
Fifteen wooden panels containing information on how to protect the earth also lined the plaza. Called “Fifteen Steps to a Better World,” these panels contained earth-friendly tips such as “become carbon neutral,” “save energy,” “plant trees,” and “recycle.” This information was later used in a crossword puzzle game among attendees of the Fair, through which several students won organic skin care products.
At noon, Patty Malone, Green Deputy for LA City Council District 4, gave the opening remarks for the event. “We all have an inherent responsibility to protect the environment on the individual and civic level,” said Malone in her speech.
Other Fair activities included a rap session on the theme “What can be done to reduce global warming?” led by professor Paul Kazarian and a film viewing of the moving documentary “Being Caribou,” which was about the endangered porcupine caribou herd.
“I think it’s important for GCC to put this on because we need to have a new generation that cares about the environment,” said Lenise Andrade, a staff member of Heal the Bay, which is a nonprofit organization concerned with the preservation of California’s coasts. “It’s important to have new blood in this campaign.”
Nalini Lasiewicz, Exhibit Coordinator of the college Science Education Center, said that the event seeks to teach GCC students how to “live lives without using too much energy.”
“Americans use more energy than any other country in the world,” Lasiewicz said. “We want them to learn about alternative sources of energy, such as fossil fuels.”
She also said that environmental awareness is not the only benefit of EcoFest; it can also be of help to students in deciding their career path.
“There’s a lot of jobs coming up in the energy field,” Lasiewicz said. These jobs were discussed the previous day in an on-campus panel discussion called “Careers in Energy.”
Lasiewicz added that the Fair teaches people to become environmental activists. “We want students to become passionate in their beliefs regarding different environmental issues,” she said.