The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

The Oldest College Newspaper in Pennsylvania

The Lafayette

EarthFest celebrates community sustainability

Photo by Emma Sylvester for The Lafayette
The Office of Sustainability made an Earth-themed banner.

From small plants to big ideas, the Lafayette community came together to celebrate sustainability last Friday at EarthFest.

“I just love how vibrant [EarthFest] is. So many people come out each year — it’s really exciting to see how many people are engaged and excited about sustainability,” Amanda Kapitula ‘23, an outreach and engagement intern for the Office of Sustainability, said.

The college has celebrated Earth Day since the holiday’s inception in 1970. That year, a large group of Lafayette students and faculty cleared trash from local rivers. Since then, at Lafayette and at many institutions across the country, Earth Day has expanded into Earth Week, and now Earth Month.

“There’s so much to talk about when it comes to sustainability — not just the environment, but the social and environmental justice related elements and the economic related elements,” Samantha Smith, outreach and engagement manager in the Office of Sustainability, said. “There’s so many different ways to learn and get involved with sustainability that you can’t cram it into one day.”

EarthFest, the campus-wide celebration that typically occurs on or near Earth Day, is what Smith called “the keystone event” of the month.

EarthFest featured a wide variety of organizations, highlighting the diversity of sustainability topics and initiatives. From the counseling center’s discussion of climate anxiety to local vendors promoting sustainable shopping, the event showcased the different ways individuals and organizations can contribute to a more sustainable world.

Over 45 campus organizations and local businesses came together on the Quad to showcase the diversity of sustainability efforts. Lafayette Happiness Project and Pard Pebbles hosted a table that encouraged participants to decorate rocks with colorful drawings and positive messages like “Keep going!” and “You deserve to be loved!” 

The Counseling Center staffed a table where students could create mindfulness-encouraging “grounding rocks” or contribute to a community whiteboard to identify their personal motivations to create action and change.

Mark Reid, a manager at Easton Urban Farm, ran a table representing the farm, a small nonprofit on the South Side of Easton. Reid’s table gave out free cilantro plants and informed passersby about Easton Urban Farm’s work with local pantries.

“We’re here to put the word out and support Earth Day because that’s what we do: we grow stuff,” Reid said.

As a part of the Office of Sustainability’s commitment to reducing waste, much of the signage advertising EarthFest was reused from past years. With longevity in mind, the signage was purposefully designed to not include the date of the event. 

Additionally, vendors and organizations who attended the event were urged to be deliberate about what items they brought to give away and to be mindful of how much waste they might produce.

“We asked folks, if you’re thinking about giving away food, maybe give it on a napkin instead of in a little plastic cup because you don’t need that plastic cup,” Smith said.

EarthFest functions as both a celebration of sustainability at the college and a platform for educating students about relevant sustainability topics and initiatives.

“The environment penetrates pretty much everything we do,” Kapitula said. “[EarthFest] highlights just how intersectional sustainability is.”

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Elisabeth Seidel, Design Director/Assistant Business Manager
The funniest culture designer.
Emma Sylvester, Photo Editor

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