Free trees and electric cars were among the attractions at the Earth Day Celebration on April 22, which began with a variety of environmentally friendly attractions on the University of La Verne Quad and ended with a faculty panel discussion in La Fetra auditorium.
The Sustainable Task Force and the Society of Physical and Life Science Scholars joined together with student groups to make the day’s events possible.
“We were lucky enough to have collaborations,” said Bryson Miller, a senior member of Sustainable Task Force.
Earth Day is an annual holiday, celebrated nationally to observe the need for continuing care of the earth, which is vital for continuing prosperity.
At the La Verne celebration several fraternities and sororities provided booths with information about how to protect the environment.
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An oxygen bar was set up to show how fresh our air could would be without pollution.
Free food to the first 100 commuters helped to bring additional students.
The Tree People in Beverly Hills donated 150 trees to be given to participants.
“Trees ... give out clean oxygen.” Bryson said.
And the South Coast Air Quality Management District displayed a hydrogen fuel cell car and an electric car to show cleaner alternatives and give students rides.
As the late-afternoon sky became overcast, ULV’s Earth Day events concluded with a discussion headed by a five- professor panel indoors at La Fetra.
The panel of faculty across the disciplines was moderated by Arts and Sciences Dean Fred Yaffe.
It looked at what can be done to more effectively fulfill the sustainability dimension of the University’s mission statement as well as national and global environmental issues.
Professor of Education Barbara Nicoll started the discussion when she raised the concern about the increase in asthma in young children.
“We have to start taking a look at airborne pollution,” Nicoll said.
Professor of Political Science Richard Gelm said in order for anything to change, politicians and scientists need to communicate with one another about actions that need to be taken to make our environment healthier.
“Something needs to be done before (a major crisis) occurs.”
Assistant Professor of Journalism Elizabeth Zwerling said the media does a good job informing the public – who in turn pressure politicians for certain changes.
“But journalists are afraid of science, and we do a terrible job with reporting environmental issues,” Zwerling said. “The media needs to make stories about the environment hit home.”
Professor of Business Administration Janis Dietz emphasized personal responsibility.
“We have to sustain our resources, turn off lights and recycle,” Dietz said.
Professor of Biology Jay Jones added: “The earth can sustain about three billion people and we have 6.4 billion people. We have to get everybody in an interdisciplinary way to work together.”
The faculty and staff are sometimes the worst offenders when it comes to sustaining a greener campus.
“Turning off lights does not cost you anything and it gives you exercise,” Jones said.
ULV’s recycling program handles more than 100 tons of recycled goods. With a little bit of motivation everybody should be able to recycle and conserve energy, panelists agreed.
Toward the end of the discussion, Yaffe proposed making some of the ideas raised more permanent.
“I’d like to call for the faculty to come together to start an environmental studies program,” Yaffe said.
Danyel Fogarty can be reached at Sadeyez619@hotmail.com.