Green week 2022
Ohio Wesleyan Student Event celebrating Earth Day and other environmentally friendly initiatives
One day—or even a week—is not enough time to highlight all of the green initiatives being spearheaded by Ohio Wesleyan University students on campus this spring.
Instead, environmental and sustainability students, residents of the small Tree House housing unit, and others are planning a Green Week beginning Monday, April 18 and ending Tuesday, April 26.
“Yes, a Green Week and a half,” he said John KrygierPh.D., Professor of Environment and Sustainability.
A packed calendar
Students plan a calendar of activities that includes information on how to reduce, recycle, and reuse waste, as well as lunch planning sessions with longtime environmental partners Del-Co Water Company and the city’s Public Utilities Department to discuss sustainability efforts. Both organizations will also exchange career and internship information.
Green Week activities include a garbage cleanup on April 23 in partnership with the Unity Community Center and will conclude on April 26 with students enrolled in a renewable energy course at 10:30 am in the Schimmel/Conrades Science atrium Center to present their research results.
Treehouse presenter SK Bülander ’23 from Los Angeles, California, is coordinating this year’s calendar of events.
“2040 is the non-negotiable deadline for overhauling our fossil-fuel dependent world, before the Earth reaches a global average temperature of 1.5°C and is irreversibly damaged,” said Bulander, a dual major in environmental sciences and English (literature). “In the shadow of such a gigantic task, it can be scary and stressful even to think about the idea of sustainability. My vision for Green Week is that it will give OWU students the tools to make meaningful and bite-friendly lifestyle changes.”
Lots of ways to get involved
“Look for activities like ‘Plant-based Problem Solving’, where students can learn about everyday low-waste and plant-based mediums of exchange, and ‘Bee-less Wax Wraps’, which explains how to make vegan wax wraps as an alternative to plastic foil, plastic bags, aluminum foil, plastic lids and many other disposable items. Make sure you donate old clothes to the pop-up campus trade store and buy some new, repurposed suits,” Bulander continued.
“Meanwhile, Green Week will provide a space for students to analyze the corporate forces driving the climate crisis,” she said. “This includes events such as ‘An Introduction to Textiles,’ where students learn about the environmental impact of the textile industry, and ‘The Root of it: How Community Gardens in the US Combat Food Insecurity,’ where students can participate in roundtable discussions with local community gardens and OWU professors on food insecurity at national and local levels.
I hope it becomes clear that there are numerous groups on campus and nearby that are pushing for environmental action,” Bulander concluded. “Students who wish to become more involved in OWU’s environmental side should join the Sustainability Task Force for monthly meetings that bring together the university’s administrators, faculty, staff and students to stay current on OWU’s environmental movements. It provides a great networking space for sustainability careers and acts as an excellent jumping-off point to get more involved with clubs. I would also encourage them to try the Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) to lobby for local, bipartisan, low-carbon legislation, especially in today’s extremely divided political landscape.”
Can take off recycling
On Earth Day (April 22), the group is launching this year’s May Move Out initiative, which encourages students to donate usable clothing, books, furniture, household goods, and other items when they vacate their rooms at the end of the semester. Started in 2012, the decade-old program typically reclaims 10 tons of material annually that would otherwise end up in a landfill.
Large, temporary storage bins will be set up in the Chi Phi Fraternity parking lots on Williams Drive and in the Bradford Milligan, Smith, Stuyvesant and Welch residences to collect donations. Items will be accepted during the 7am to 7pm pickup time and then donated to Goodwill. Visit maymoveout.owu.edu for more information and a list of acceptable items and donation dates.
May Move Out Coordinator Graham Ross’ 23 from Marion, Ohio, said he hopes the students will take the time to sort and donate all of their recyclables.
“Every item they dump has a huge impact on the well-being of our ecosystem and our society,” said Steed, an environmental studies major. “Each piece of garbage not only travels great distances to landfills in our country or another, thereby producing large amounts of CO2, but once they get there, they pollute the local community through toxic runoff. These communities are mostly poor and colored communities, adding another intersectional aspect to this issue.”
Restore food, feed others
In addition to Green Week and May Move Out, Ohio Wesleyan students are also starting an initiative this semester to share unused dining room food with the community. Ohio Wesleyan is a member of the National Food Recovery Network.
students Abby Charlton ’25 from Newark, Ohio, and savannah Domenech ’25 of Webster, New York are overseeing this renewed effort, which includes collecting unused groceries once a week.
Domenech, a double major in environmental studies and geography, said of a recent collection: “We received over 30 pounds of food consisting of buffalo chicken, beef brisket, steamed rice and mixed vegetables. However, in the past the club has received over a hundred pounds of food for a recovery. After we weigh the food, we truck it to the Grace Clinic across the street and they distribute it to their patients.”
improvement of water quality
Another initiative restored this semester is the use of a storm net to collect debris from the Delaware Run, which flows through the north side of campus on its way to the Olentangy River. The 13,000-pound, 4-foot-tall, 18.5-foot-wide concrete-weighted storm netting structure was installed at the Delaware Run in 2019 before the pandemic.
students Logan Honchul ’24 from Trenton, Ohio, and AJ Lashway ’23 of Niskayuna, New York, began working with the City of Delaware’s Department of Public Utilities this semester to restore the network, monitor, and analyze the collected items.
“I’m hoping to gain more experience with water quality testing since my background in this field is more limited,” said Lashway, a triple major in zoology, environmental sciences and creative writing. “It’s such an important part of understanding the health of bodies of water, so I look forward to better analyzing the data that’s being collected. It will also be a great experience to be able to potentially make changes based on the information gathered.”
Honchul said she is also interested in learning and improving skills to support her career goal of working in conservation.
“As a zoology major, I have a strong passion for animals and I absolutely love working with them,” said Honchul, who majors in environmental sciences and minors in communications. “I hope I can help improve local wildlife habitat. I hope to learn about how much litter and debris is really impacting local aquatic life.”
Learn more about Ohio Wesleyan’s Department of Environment and Sustainability at owu.edu/environment.