April 27, 2017
Sunday, April 22 marked the 37th anniversary of the environmental movement’s birth in 1970; more commonly known as Earth Day. The day is a celebration of past landmark legislation such as the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act, but also advocates for the many environmental crises still plaguing the earth. HEAG began the Hamilton celebration of Earth Day a little bit early with the group’s annual Green Week from April 15 - April 22; a week full of film screenings, sustainability projects and a bouncy house!
Green Week promotes environmental awareness for a clean and green future and begins every year with the Energy Conservation Challenge. Working with Physical Plant and Brian Hansen, HEAG uses the Hamilton Energy Dashboard to track energy use in every dorm on campus. The challenge, competing to reduce energy consumption, gives dorms the opportunity to unplug—both physically and spiritually—as students flip off the lights, turn off the screens, unplug devices not in use and get outside.
The middle of the week featured “The Hour of Darkness,” a singular hour with the lights off in which students stood in solidarity of energy conservation and contributed to their dorm’s energy reduction! This year’s winner was Rogers Estate, and they celebrated with a pizza party for the dorm.
HEAG teamed up with the Hamilton Sustainability Coordinators to screen, One Big Home, a documentary shedding light on the monstrous mansions of Martha’s Vineyard that are disrupting the community and the island’s ecological system. The screening offered students an opportunity to learn more about waste in the built environment and promoted the importance of conserving small communities.
Falling the week before the 2017 People’s Climate March, Green Week encouraged Hamilton students’ participation in Washington, D.C. on April 29. Students took to Sadove Sunporch for a poster making session to prepare for the march. The posters were all made from recyclable materials and allowed Hamilton students to creatively cultivate their own proclamations for Washington, D.C.
The week ended with two all-day events. First, the Green Week Fair held in the Annex hosted an inflatable obstacle course, a raffle of sustainable spoils and a thermos giveaway. HEAG worked with Assistant Director of Student Activities Kaity Werner to design the thermoses to promote waste reduction surrounding paper products on campus; so if you got a thermos, or a mason jar, or a jam jar or whatever, use it!
Finally, the Clinton community offered a plethora of events for the big day, Earth Day! The Kirkland Town Library hosted the film, Before the Flood made famous by Oscar winning actor, Leonardo Dicaprio, as well as a community discussion surrounding the focus of the film: how climate is affecting our environment and what society can do to help. Clinton hosted its own March for Science in solidarity with the other science marches occurring across the country on Earth Day.
So we came, we saw, we greened. HEAG would like to extend a big thank you to everyone who helped Green Week come together and made it such a sustainable success. Look out for more information about Hamilton’s trip to the 2017 People’s Climate March coming soon!