Pedal-powered smoothies. A giant recycled-waste sculpture. A unique chance to become more environmentally aware. Ohio Wesleyan University’s first Green Week will offer all of this and more – even the chance to snag a free spork.
The week, March 25-29, is being sponsored by the OWU Sustainability Task Force in conjunction with the Environment and Wildlife Club, Environmental Studies Program, Wesleyan Council on Student Affairs (WCSA), and Philosophy Department’s Andy Anderson Fund. Students Sarah Jilbert and Erika Kazi are helping to coordinate the observation, which also has received grant support from three outside sources.
“We want this to become an annual event that involves both the OWU campus and Delaware communities,” said Jilbert, a junior economics management and environmental studies double major from Valley City, Ohio.
In advance of the week, members of the campus community were invited to create six-person teams and register to compete in various contests. The winning team gets to choose a green project to receive funds to help implement it.
Each day is themed, providing a different learning opportunity, said Kazi, a junior environmental studies and sociology double major from Wilton, Conn.
Here is the current list of Green Week events. Unless otherwise specified, all events will take place over the lunch hour in Hamilton-Williams Campus Center.
- March 25: Welcome to the Green Room / Banner-Making Contest. Take a water-and-energy-usage survey to find out how effectively you are using resources and what you can do to improve your environmental IQ. Share your newfound knowledge during a banner-making contest. Those who take the survey will receive a free water bottle while supplies last.
- March 26: Mind Your Area Business. Find out what businesses you can patronize in the local community. Area businesses are invited to set up informational displays from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in Hamilton-Williams Campus Center as part of an evening reception. Three participating businesses will be selected to receive free Ohio Wesleyan sustainability audits designed to help them operate in ways that save money and support the environment.
- March 27: Waste Naught / Mulch to Celebrate. Visit the JAYwalk to see a piece of artwork created by members of the Tree House small living unit to represent the amount of waste generated each weekday at the University. Also on display (and for sale) will be bags of compost mulch created by Ohio Mulch using waste recycled from OWU dining rooms, and information will be available about how long it takes different types of waste to decompose. Free tote bags will be handed out to art display visitors while supplies last.
- March 28: Smoothie Moves / Social Bike Ride. Students will be invited to trade food points at lunchtime for smoothies they create using a blender attached to a stationary bicycle. Guests also will be surveyed to find out whether you walked, biked, or drove to the campus center for the day, and you will learn more about different modes of transportation and their environmental impact. In addition, everyone is invited, as part of the OWU Bishop Bikes initiative, to go for an hour-long social bicycle ride. The ride will leave from the JAYwalk fountain area at 4 p.m. Riders will receive a free reusable spork, while supplies last, to help reduce plastic cutlery waste.
- March 29/30: Black Out Day & Night / Community Free Store. At 5 p.m., non-essential lights will be shut off in the Schimmel/Conrades Science Center to help demonstrate the power of simple actions, such as shutting off unnecessary lighting, to conserve energy. The week’s contest-winning team also will be announced, and free pizza will be served. Later that night, OWU students are invited to the Tree House for a “Thrift Store Party” from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. Admission price is one unwanted, but donatable item per student. (The party is not open to the public.) All items collected will be up for grabs Saturday from noon to 4 p.m. during a public “Free Store” event that is open to the entire community. Donations will be accepted during the four-hour Free Store event, and items that don’t find new homes will be donated to local charities.
Jilbert and Kazi said support for Green Week is being provided by both internal and external sources, including two outside grants provided by three national organizations.
The first external grant was awarded by Outdoor Nation, a national initiative connecting the Millennial Generation to the outdoors, and CamelBak, a leading hydration company. They awarded Green Week $500 and 100 water bottles. The OWU project was one of 10 selected for funding nationwide. According to Outdoor Nation, grants were given to “pioneering initiatives that are millennial-developed, address environmental issues and create sustainable eco-friendly practices in local communities around water conservation.”
The second external award was a $400 grant from Shareable, a California-based online magazine committed to telling the story of sharing. The Shareable funds will provide seed money to support and develop the free store concept on campus. The OWU Green Week proposal was one of 144 submitted for funding and one of only 12 chosen nationwide to receive awards.
Sean Kinghorn, Ohio Wesleyan’s energy conservation and sustainability coordinator, has been working with students on the Green Week initiative.
“Erika and Sarah, as well as Jacob Bonnell, have done a fantastic job organizing and promoting this event to support our sustainability efforts on campus,” Kinghorn said. “This is a great way for the OWU community to learn easy solutions for reducing our environmental footprint.”
Learn more about sustainability at Ohio Wesleyan.