Planting seeds and building models for sustainable energy: these were just two of the activities members of the Andover community participated in during the school’s annual celebration of Earth Week.
EcoAction, Andover’s environmental advocacy club, hosted a number of the events.
“[EcoAction] hosted on Friday the Plant Something event. We had herb seeds [and] flower seeds that students could plant in their own pots so they could grow throughout the rest of spring, just as a symbolic thing for Earth Day. We hosted in the Freeman Room a club meeting where students were encouraged to come and build models of wind turbines and solar arrays and fuel cell vehicles. Later this week, we have a movie playing tomorrow night in Kemper,” said Georgia Ezell ’19, president of EcoAction.
EcoAction board member Vish Dhar ’19 further reflected on the symbolic nature of the Plant Something event.
“We had a bunch of plans for this week. The first one was on Friday, and there was a planting just so that you can bring some of the outside world into your… dorm, into your house, and just have a visual reminder of Earth Week and sustainability in general,” said Dhar.
The festivities were sponsored by the Sustainability Office, headed by Sustainability Coordinator Allison Guerette. EcoAction works closely with Guerette, who promotes green habits like the ones demonstrated throughout the week.
“I’m the club advisor for EcoAction, and they have a really awesome board that does a lot of the work. I help them coordinate the Green Cup Challenge and coordinate the Earth Week events, and we’re working together to come up with a more robust program for dorm sustainability starting next fall… My favorite part of the job is working with students to address issues such as climate change and ecosystem destruction. Instead of backing away, [Andover] students tend to view environmental issues as opportunities to innovate. In my opinion, that’s the way we’re going to solve them,” said Guerette.
According to Ezell, EcoAction is looking to expand upon both the Green Cup Challenge and the work done during Earth Week. The club hopes to reduce waste and promote sustainability through projects such as reducing the usage of Paresky Commons cups.
“We’re actually going to think about a long-term plan to reduce Andover students’ usage of [Paresky] Commons cups, because we use 4,500 of those per week, so that’s a massive example of waste on our campus. We are hoping to start a revolving Green Fund, building off of the Green Cup Challenge. The money saved from energy saving throughout these past four weeks will be allotted to environmental projects and sustainability projects on campus in the future,” said Ezell.
The events of the week fell under the Greener Blue Initiative, a comprehensive effort to support campus sustainability.
“A Greener Blue basically brings together everyone who is increasing the sustainability of campus. It connects the students building computerized gardens and solar benches in [The Nest] with the facilities department that is super-insulating a new faculty home, with the grounds crew installing meadows to promote ecosystem development and with the alumni who have gone on to start ground-breaking renewable energy companies. It’s open for anybody to get involved and become a part of the Greener Blue Initiative,” said Guerette.
Given the current state of the environment, Ezell feels that the Andover community has an obligation to address sustainability, even if it means altering current habits.
“I think that as a school that’s raising future leaders of the world, it’s so important [that] we understand how pressing the current state of environmental affairs is right now and that we really need to act immediately and change so many of our daily habits in order to address it,” said Ezell