Earth Week concluded April 26 with Scripps College’s annual Sustainability Fair, an event that gave students a platform to advertise sustainable initiatives and organizations, while fostering a larger conversation surrounding sustainability.
Several student initiatives and organizations that hosted Earth Week events tabled at the fair, finalizing their week-long efforts to environmentally enlighten 5C students.
“Sustainability means everyone investing in programs and initiatives that are going to make the Earth more livable for everyone on it, and that’s what [the Sustainability Fair] is trying to do,” said Sondra Abruzzo SC ’19, an event organizer and Scripps Associated Students sustainability chair.
Among the groups at the fair was the Pomona EcoReps, Pomona College’s student-run sustainability organization. The EcoReps spotlighted “Weigh the Waste,” an Earth Week initiative meant to combat food waste and overconsumption. Food meant for compost was compiled and weighed at the end of each day at Frary Dining Hall to show students how much food waste they were creating.
“Our goal is to educate [students] … so they then default to sustainable options,” EcoRep Kate McWilliams PO ’19 said, adding that the initiative’s aim is to make “students aware of the impact of their own daily routines.”
Another group, Pitzer College’s EcoCenter, hosted an event for Earth Week called “Fashion
Revolution: Clothes Swap orSell.” Students could sell and donate clothes, deterring them from fast fashion and promoting reuse. Student artists also sold handmade products at the event.
“[A clothing swap] is an easy way to be involved in sustainability on campus, and so many people have so many clothes that they’re not wearing,” event organizer Shanie Kalikow PZ ’22 said. “A way a lot of students relieve stress is by shopping, and even thrifting isn’t totally sustainable. We’re still shopping more than we need to be.”
The swap was connected with Fashion Revolution, a nonprofit global movement campaigning for fashion industry reform in the name of sustainability and labor rights. Swap attendees received guides from the movement’s website meant to give consumers steps to hold clothing retailers accountable.
“We wanted to create an event that enabled people to do something they needed to do — sell or buy clothes — and had a message of sustainability and a purpose of teaching people about sustainability in terms of clothing,” Kalikow said.
Several booths at the Scripps fair were purely educational, run by students wanting to raise awareness on a specific sustainability issue. There was a how-to-recycle booth, a booth on living a no-waste or low-waste lifestyle and a booth advertising an educational carbon tax role-playing game.
McWilliams said there has been a shift in sustainability movements since she entered college.
“A few years ago … the big topic was water waste and the drought,” McWilliams said, referring to the severe drought that rocked California from 2011 to 2018. “Now there’s this perception that we’re out of the drought … so [water] hasn’t been talked about as much. We can focus on more specific but equally as important topics like food, clothes and plastic waste.”
Attendee Selena Lopez PO ’22 noted that sustainability isn’t something that can be accomplished by one person — it has to be a group effort.
“[The fair] centralizes our efforts, but it’s up to us to show up, learn and take action on behalf of our planet and our own futures,” she said.