WKU raises awareness for Earth Day with annual campus festival

Susan Warrell with the Community Farmers Market gives away samples of locally grown produce at the WKU Earth Day Festival in DSU. The Community Farmers Market is open on Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Nicole Ziege

WKU held its annual Earth Day festival at the Downing Student Union on Thursday.

The event, which was organized by the Student Government Association, featured different activities and vendors from various community and student organizations.

Jayden Thomas, a member of SGA’s Sustainability Committee, said the event was initially planned to take place at Centennial Mall and was moved indoors to DSU. He said the committee expected about 60 different organizations to table at the event, with live music playing in the DSU Auditorium.

Thomas said the event raises awareness for sustainability for both the environment and for larger issues that impact society. He said sustainability is usually thought of as just ‘reduce, reuse and recycle.’

“We’re here to show students, ‘This is how you can be sustainable, and this is how you can get involved,’” Thomas said.

At the SGA table during the event, festival attendees could paint small flower pots.

Lawrenceburg native Jamie Williams and Mount Sterling native Hannah Turner, who were both clinical psychology graduate students, attended the event and painted flower pots at SGA’s table.

Williams said she attends the event every year because it is often one of the biggest events on campus, and Turner said she decided to attend the event after Williams told her about it.

“Sustainability is something I’ve thought more about lately,” Turner said, referring to becoming more aware of minimizing her trash, such as Starbucks cups and plastic bags, as she goes about her daily life. “I feel like it’s something that our generation will have to change.”

One student vendor tabling at the event was WKU’s Horticulture Club, where students and other attendees could get a free potted plant.

Liberty freshman Alyssa McKinney is a member of the Horticulture Club and tabled at the festival. She said the goal of the club’s tabling was to educate people about how to take care of plants and to raise awareness for the Earth.

“The Earth is really important, and it’s not been doing very well lately,” McKinney said.

One of the community organizations tabling at the festival included the Bowling Green Fairness Campaign, the city’s LGBTQ advocacy organization supporting legislation that would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

Rep. Patti Minter, founding member of the Bowling Green Fairness Campaign, attended the event. She said the organization came to the event in order to support “intersectional justice.”

“We not only want full LGBT equality, but we’re also here to support Earth Day and support climate justice,” Minter said. “We support intersectional justice movements because we want to make this country a better place and this world a better place for all of us.”

News reporter Nicole Ziege can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter at @NicoleZiege.