Union busy for Earth Day Expo

Students learns how to reduce carbon footprint, live sustainable lives

Students visit an Earth Day Expo booth on Wednesday in the Memorial Union. Photo by Marie Monson.

Although students weren’t notified about the UND Earth Day Expo on Wednesday until almost two hours after it began, heavy traffic in the Memorial Union exposed numerous booths on various aspects of environmental awareness to students and professors alike.

A total of six booths stood on the main level, including tables for Green 3 Grand Forks, Waste Management, UND’s Earth System and Science Policy department and UND Health and Wellness.

I arrived around 11:30 a.m. and was impressed with the assortment of aspects covered between the groups. Waste Management showed me what materials can be put out on the curb for weekly pickup and sent me on my way with a biodegradable pen made out of corn.

Next, I saw UND Professor Rebecca Romsdahl, who elaborated on what can be done with different degrees in ESSP.

Green 3 Grand Forks, the city’s sustainability program, provided multiple pamphlets designed to inform citizens on how they can go green and handed out bookmarks with seeds attached. Grand Forks Sustainability Coordinator Debra Pfughoeft said the city has been focusing this year on alternative transportation, community gardening and farmers’ markets.

Each person I spoke with took the time to answer any of my questions and really seemed to have a passion for the environment, celebrating Earth Day accordingly by spreading awareness to university students.

While I learned a fair amount about how to reduce my own carbon footprint, I also learned how to make a garden in a glove, complete with sweet pepper, tomato, cilantro, onion and sweet basil seeds each with its own finger compartment in the glove. When the damp cotton ball-coated seeds begin to sprout after sitting in the sun for a week or two, the plants can be transferred to pots.

My final stop was a table talking of the benefits of UND’s sustainable Gorecki Alumni Center, which saves over 200 thousand gallons of water every year by trapping and reusing rainwater. Diagrams show the benefits of the architecture as its large windows let in natural sunlight and the roof keeps the building well insulated.

In honor of Earth Day, which was actually on Tuesday, The Princeton Review released its annual Green Colleges Guide, which included UND. While there is quite obviously still more that everyone, including the university, can do, I was glad that the event involved passersby and educated students about ways to help save the environment at the same time.

Marie Monson is the multimedia editor at The Dakota Student. She can be reached at [email protected].