Earth Fest brings sustainability to Kent State

Joyleah Odom, Reporter

Music filled the room as eager students floated between tables lined throughout the Student Center’s second floor Tuesday afternoon in celebration of Earth Month. The Office of Sustainability and the Earth Month Planning Committee hosted Earth Fest as part of their annual Earth Month programming.

This year’s turnout was smaller than previous years as a result of the pandemic, said Melanie Knowles, the manager of the Office of Sustainability. However, she was happy the event would be available to students this year.

”We’re really excited to be here,” Knowles said. “The people who are here are really excited. So, hopefully, we’re moving into a time when we’ll have more big events. But I’m really excited for the turnout today.”

Earth Month calendar. (Courtesy of Office of Sustainability)

The Earth Day 2022 theme was “Invest in Our Planet,” and more than 50 on-campus organizations and departments had tables where students could learn and gather information on community initiatives.

“We just want to show people the number of ways that sustainability touches their lives, the number of people that are out there working on it and ways that they can be involved,” Knowles said.

Rebecca Rodhe, a representative from Portage Park District, said there are several ways students can get involved in the community, including hiking challenges and park cleanups.

“We tried to offer a blend of programs for all ages and all interest levels in the park district to get people out and involved in what we got here locally in Portage County,” Rodhe said.

Students on campuses across the United States have shown that sustainability is a topic they consider a priority. Rodhe said she sees the initiative students are taking on this issue and commends what they are doing on top of their already stressful school load.

“You guys are the ones who are showing that we need to take care of these green spaces,” Rodhe said. “We haven’t done a great job of it, so it starts with the young people, and you guys are all taking care of these spaces and taking care of our future Earth.”

The event offered an opportunity for students to learn more about making the environment a hospitable place for future generations. Senior public relations major Alexus Rayzer, the DJ at the event, said she was glad access to these resources is being made available to students.

“I think this generation has more access to information regarding pollution and sustainability efforts,” Rayzer said. “It’s easier to take a stand in something or hold big organizations accountable when you have the tools like Earth Fest or even the internet to learn more about it.”

Joyleah Odom is a reporter. Contact her at  [email protected]