As part of a week of environmental awareness events centered around Earth Day, environmental student organizations and University departments hosted a carnival on Gregory Plaza on Tuesday to inform students about environmentally-conscious policies and sustainability efforts at UT.
According to biomedical engineering sophomore Sharmistha Maity, the festival focused on outreach and featured the collaboration of various student environmental organizations and University offices. Maity, a member of Engineers for a Sustainable World, said the organizations started collaborating in February.
“The whole concept of sustainability … everyone knows about it generally, but I really wanted to have a way to reach out to them, so they understand how they can make an impact on campus,” Maity said. “When people walk by, they’ll learn a lot of facts about sustainability and what’s happening on campus, and they’re more likely to have actions about it, like recycle more and use less water.”
During the festival, each organization had a booth focused on different aspects of the environment.
“For Engineers for a Sustainable World, we decided to create a trivia [game], so we would have people come by and they would answer questions about water, waste, energy and sustainability at UT,” Maity said. “They would participate and then get free fruit for participating, and if they won they would get a free shirt.”
Biology freshman Clara Dawson said she didn’t know it was Earth Day, but she enjoyed learning about water conservation and other green efforts at each booth.
“I actually picked up this vegan diet [flier] because I’m interested in healthy eating,” Dawson said. “You learn a lot about what goes on at UT.”
Emily Mixon, plan II senior and director of the Campus Environmental Center, said her favorite part about Earth Day was working on outreach efforts with the community.
“I just think it’s really great to see people’s faces when they realize it’s Earth Day, and you see people walking across campus who have no idea it’s Earth Day and just getting to go out and talk to them about how they can make a difference,” Mixon said.
Mixon said people can easily help the environment every day of the year — not just on Earth Day.
“UT is actually pretty green, so just doing your part by recycling on campus, taking shorter showers, using the water bottle fillers instead of buying your Dasani water — there’s a lot of little steps you can take, and I think finding a way that works for you is easy for most people,” Mixon said.