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Campus once again rolls up sleeves for Earth Week
Friday, April 15, 2011

Earth Week logoSUNY Fredonia will cap off a semester-long series of Sustainably-themed events with its annual Earth Week celebration, which runs through Thursday, April 21, leading up to Earth Day, April 22. Conservation will be discussed in a variety of ways — from arts and literature to actions and programs – throughout the next several days. In all, 22 events are scheduled, all of which are open to the public, and all but one of which are free.

“We’ve once again tried to make sure there is something for everybody,” said Earth Week Coordinator and Chemistry Professor Sherri Mason. “Whether you’re interested in being educated, expressing yourself through the arts, or rolling up your sleeves to make a tangible difference, we’ve got something designed to suit your strengths.”
Things get underway on Saturday at 11 a.m. with the annual beach clean-up at Point Gratiot in Dunkirk. Transportation is available for volunteers who meet at 10:30 a.m. at Houghton Hall on the Fredonia campus.
Sunday’s featured attraction is the Connections duathlon, a 14-mile bicycle loop through Dunkirk and Fredonia, followed by a 5K run along the shores of Lake Erie and around Wright Park. The starter’s gun sounds at 9:30 a.m., but participants are encouraged to arrive an hour earlier, especially if they have not pre-registered. Registration is $40 per person, and all proceeds support "green" initiatives throughout Chautauqua County.
Monday’s activities are all found in the college’s Williams Center, beginning at 1 p.m. with an “Eco-Fair” with a variety of area companies who will discuss various sustainable initiatives going on in their businesses. The Sustainability Committee will also deliver its annual Sustainable Report to campus, although this year’s is being presented in a continuously looping, 15-minute video presentation for visitors to enjoy at their convenience between 1 and 3 p.m. At 5 p.m., the campus continues its look into Annie Leonard’s short film series with a showing host “The Story of Cap and Trade,” including a discussion and debate about elements of this potential climate change solution being proposed by lawmakers and Wall Street financiers following the film.
Tuesday will feature a nature writing event in Reed Library’s Japanese Gardens at 2 p.m., led by English students enrolled in English 399 and Professor Aimee Nezhukumatathil. Then, at 6 p.m., Leonard’s “The Story of Electronics” will be shown, followed by a panel discussion with representatives from Chautauqua Landfill and Computer Recycling Center, who will talk about e-waste.
On Wednesday, the campus leads its second annual Shake the Habit event in the community. More than 70 area businesses have now signed up — a number that is increasing daily — to go plastic-bag free, all day. For the full list of retailers or to sign up, visit
Then, at 2 p.m., the Fredonia Opera House will welcome the community to experience Arts for the Earth. The hour-long performance features SUNY Fredonia students studying music, theater, dance and other disciplines collaborating in an interactive, multi-departmental performing arts extravaganza. This illuminating event focuses on the struggles we face in a changing world and the potential we exhibit to correct the past and envision a brighter future. The production will be repeated at 7 p.m., and the New Horizons Band will perform 30 minutes before each performance.
A Dumpster Dive will take place in Barker Commons at 3 p.m., during which community members will see just how much “trash” actually could have been recycled. Past campus efforts have revealed numbers as high as 90 percent. The event will also include performances by the Fredonia Jazz Ensemble and multiple campus a capella groups.
Leonard’s “Story of Cosmetics” will be shown at the Green Tea Room, at 12 Park Place across from the Commons, between 3 and 5 p.m., and make-overs will be offered using products and techniques that are much more environmentally friendly.
Wednesday concludes with a showing of “Creekology,” a new documentary produced by SUNY Fredonia students. The film will be premiered at 9 p.m. in Room 101 of Jewett Hall on the Fredonia campus. The film outlines the benefits and unofficial uses of Canadaway Creek, as well as what it offers faculty, students and the community. It also explores the need to preserve the creek, and proposes a scenario where SUNY Fredonia might even purchase a section of the creek to create a nature preserve.
Earth Week comes to a close on Thursday, with a campus Dumpster Dive at 1 p.m. in the Williams Center courtyard, followed a cigarette butt clean-up initiative across campus immediately following. At 4 p.m., author and poet Elizabeth Dodd will speak in the Horizon Room of the Williams Center, as part of the Mary Louis White Symposium. A professor of English and director of Creative Writing at Kansas State University, her published commentaries address ecological issues.
And at 6 p.m., the last of Leonard’s films, “The Story of Bottled Water,” will be shown in Room S104 of the Williams Center, followed by a panel discussion on a variety of water issues, including the controversial hydrofracking process.

These of course are just some of the many highlights. To see the full slate of Earth Week events, visit or contact Dr. Mason at 673-3292.


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