Participating in Earth Day events worthwhile, valuable for community

Opinions Columnist | Healthcare Administration Senior

To celebrate Earth Day today, students should take part in events on campus and nearby the San Marcos area.

The Texas Wild Rice Festival at Sewell Park was over one week ago, but this does not mean the fun or individual stewardship to the environment has to stop. Not all students are environmental gurus. For example, after I learned turkey vultures urinate on their legs to cool off on hot days, I gave it a try and found no success. At the very least, Earth Day should be treated as a day for learning and reflection.

There are several events happening today on campus in various places including The Quad. Every year there are multiple student organizations promoting fundraising and encouraging do-goodery. This is a great time for students to learn about the local San Marcos environment and get involved. This year, the Electronics Recycling Event will be held in the Strahan Coliseum North Parking Lot. Here, students and the general public can drop off unused gadgets, such as computers and cell phones, for recycling. Even at Harris Dining Hall an exhibit on reducing an individual’s carbon footprint is expected to be on display.

Students visiting Austin or Dallas this upcoming weekend should stop by the Austin Earth Day Festival and Earth Day Texas in Dallas. Both events offer free admission to park grounds and feature multiple keynote speakers and exhibits. Two years ago, I attended the Dallas event and listened to both former first lady Laura Bush and world-renowned theoretical physicist Michio Kaku lecture in the same day. Even if hugging trees and practicing sustainability is not your cup of tea, both events feature live music and there are few things better than free entertainment.

If a student’s schedule does not allow for Earth Day participation, there are a number of ways to be “green.” For beginners, students living in off-campus apartments can modify their behavior. Simply using a ceiling fan instead of adjusting the air conditioner to a lower temperature can reduce energy consumption. According to Consumer Reports, for every degree a thermostat is adjusted cooler the cost can rise about 6 percent. This is something all off-campus students can practice as it saves energy and slashes the utility bill.

On campus there are plenty of options for practicing sustainability. One of the most celebrated eco-friendly programs is Bobcat Blend. Bobcat Blend is the compost-landfill-recycle option for food disposal found around campus. Taking the extra mile to compost and recycle is as easy as making a trip to the LBJ Student Center where students and staff can divert materials to be recycled and composted. An added kudos is that composted material from Bobcat Blend is sometimes returned to campus for landscaping purposes.

Earth Day is a celebration of the blue and green rock we live on. Students should use this day to attend an event, seek new knowledge and live a more sustainable lifestyle.