Green Week on campus begins today and will end on Earth Day, April 22, nine years after its inaugural event.
The University of Mississippi has recognized Green Week since 2009 under leadership of the Office of Sustainability, which seeks to “expand awareness of local and global environmental issues, increase participation in sustainable behaviors and promote appreciate of our natural resources through education.”
To commemorate the occasion, the Office of Sustainability has coordinated with the Associated Student Body, Department of Facilities Planning, Department of Transportation and the Landscaping Department to put on a variety of events including luncheons, farmers’ markets and a keynote address by environmental poet Camille Dungy.
“We think this celebration should inform students no matter… their knowledge of sustainability, which is why we have a range of events, from learning how to recycle to more focused topics,” Associate Director of the Office of Sustainability Lindsey Abernathy said. “We hope to empower students, faculty and staff to make changes in their lives to better the environment.”
Green Week events will conclude with a keynote address from award-winning environmental poet Camille Dungy at 7 p.m. at the Overby Center Auditorium. Abernathy said she expects Dungy’s address to garner a lot of community interest considering she is the editor of “Black Nature” and is currently an English professor at Colorado State University.
Abernathy said the sustainability fair at the Galtney-Lott Plaza from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Wednesday will provide a fun atmosphere in which students can interact with community vendors. At this event, students can begin their participation in the “Green Week Challenge,” in which students receive a card and can gain stamps for attending various events this week.
“Those who stop by will be provided with a ‘Green Week Challenge’ card,” Abernathy said. “Students who complete the challenge by attending various events can redeem the card for a t-shirt, stainless steel water bottle or computer sticker back at the Office of Sustainability.”
Senior English major Kennedy Shock has participated in the challenge in the past.
“If you get enough stamps you can receive a Green Week t-shirt at the end,” Shock said. “But, even more important than the t-shirt is the fact that the challenge helps students who were not previously informed of how they can help the environment to be more aware.”
The week’s first event will be a luncheon at 12:15 p.m. today at the Center for Manufacturing Excellence. Featuring university architect Ian Banner and director of parking and transportation Mike Harris, this luncheon will focus on discussions regarding the development of a more pedestrian-friendly campus. More specifically, the luncheon will highlight the UM Master Plan’s eventual development of a bicycle network on campus.
From 3 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. today, the Oxford Community Market will host a farmer’s market at the Old Armory Pavilion. A fundraiser will follow at the same location and will feature chefs from Snackbar, Oxford Canteen, The Ravine and more.
Alexis Zosel, junior communicative sciences and disorders major and intern with the Office of Sustainability, said this upcoming event will likely be her favorite of the past few years.
“I’ve been participating in Green Week since I was a freshman because I feel that it presents a chance for the community to come together and appreciate the importance of sustainability as well as (to) celebrate and promote conversation in a fun way,” Zosel said.
The Department of Landscaping will commemorate Arbor Day on Thursday with a hands-on, interactive planting ceremony at 1 p.m. in the Grove. Students who participate will be given a seedling from the northern catalpa tree on campus – the “Champion Tree” near the back of the Union that is estimated to be over 150 years old.
The Strawberry Plains Audubon Center will host a volunteer day in Holly Springs on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. The Office of Sustainability plans to send a van of volunteers over that morning to help with invasive plant removal and debris cleanup. Participants will receive a Hummingbird Festival t-shirt.
Earth Day will be celebrated on Sunday, April 22, with Ole Miss Outdoors leading a hike and yoga trip on the South Campus Rail Trail at 4 p.m. Student participation will cost $5.