Pedal powered smoothies, live music, and goats brought waves of students to Gleeson Plaza this Thursday, all part of an event to promote a greener lifestyle in honor of Earth Day.
Students roamed the tables finding free organic food, a used clothing sale and a free bike repair stand.
Among the numerous Earth Day information tables, a small pen of goats caught the attention of those not used to the annual attraction. “To let goats graze your grass is an environmentally friendly way of getting rid of weeds in your land,” said Trevor Rose, from City Grazing. The San Francisco company provides the goats as an alternative to eliminating weeds without the use of toxins or chemicals. “Goat dung also provides great natural fertilizer,” said Rose.
Food Runners, a San Francisco nonprofit that delivers food to the hungry, and the Wigg Party, an eco-centric community group supporting neighborhoods around the Wiggle bike route, were among city organizations promoting greener living options.
Several USF organizations also promoted eco-friendly initiatives. The Information Technology Services’ (ITS) Green Team, for example, provided power saving tips.
“There are little things that you can do to save energy, like turning off all your electronic devices, not only your monitor when you leave your room,” said ITS staff member Beth Forest. “Some people think that power saving activities are something too small, they won’t make a difference. But when you think about the potential of thousands of people doing it, then it becomes something meaningful,” Forest said.
The student organization, Outdoors Club, sold reusable water bottles and encouraged their peers to sign a petition requesting that USF stop selling bottled water.
“Bottled water is very dangerous to the environment,” said Ashlyn Ruga, a psychology and international studies student. “They usually are not recycled and end up in the ocean, or they can be sent to countries like India, where communities are forced to deal with waste they didn’t produce.”
The Protecting Animal Welfare Through Service (PAWS) organization encouraged others to take action in order to improve the livelihood of animals, such as visiting adoption centers for abandoned pets.
PAWS’ President Franceska Hinkamp said, “Tie your plastic bags if you must throw them away, so that animals don’t get entangled in it.”
The Rock the Bike club provided electricity for the musician’s instruments through what the organization’s founder, Paul Freedman, calls “clean pedal power.”
Bicycling to generate power for the student bands Ghost Town Refugees, Bhava, and Nik Pilgrim, Freedman said, “Music should be the place where we do the right thing and put our right foot forward.” He added that by his estimate, pedaling saved 200 to 300 watts of energy.
The fusion of community and campus support for the Earth Day event highlighted the ways in which green choices could be made on campus, and have a larger impact on the city.
“The greatest thing about the event is that all the issues are being approached at a local level,” said Sara Prendergast, USF alumna and Fromm Hall resident minister. “It is exactly what practicing what you preach means. It’s refreshing to see.”