On Sunday, April 15, hundreds of Franklin & Marshall students will band together to pick up trash in local neighborhoods in one of the College’s largest community-service activities. Two days later, students will tear open trash bags to perform a trash audit on campus. A few days after that, some of them will wear trash as part of a fashion show.
The garbage-themed programs are just one aspect of F&M’s Sustainability Week, an annual series of events organized by the Wohlsen Center for the Sustainable Environment to raise awareness of environmental stewardship. This year’s events run from Saturday, April 14, to Sunday, April 22, and feature speakers, interactive programs and other initiatives designed to bring together F&M students, faculty members and professional staff in the name of sustainability.
A complete list of Sustainability Week events is available online.
“Sustainability impacts all members of the F&M community, and this week is a great opportunity for the entire community to come together,” said Shawn Jenkins ’10, special assistant to the dean of the college for strategic projects, who has planned the week’s events with the staff and student employees of the Wohlsen Center. “Shared experiences and discussion of topics relating to sustainability are meaningful for individual growth and the continued development of sustainability on campus.”
One highlight of Sustainability Week is TeamWork, an annual program in which F&M student-athletes perform community-service projects throughout the James Street Improvement District in the City of Lancaster. Organized by the Department of Athletics & Recreation for the past nine years, TeamWork is co-sponsored for the first time this year by athletics and the Wohlsen Center. It takes place on April 15, near the beginning of Sustainability Week and the end of NCAA Division III Student-Athlete Week.
“We’re thrilled to be joined by the Sustainability Committee in TeamWork this year,” said Director of Athletics & Recreation Patricia Epps. “Every student-athlete is involved, in addition to Greek organizations, F&M Hillel and other student groups. We’re expecting 800 students to participate. This is a big event for so many people on campus.”
Other highlights of Sustainability Week include a trash audit on April 17, when students will sort through trash from various part of campus to streamline waste. At 4:30 p.m. that day, food education advocate Nick Furrow will present a talk in the Wohlsen Center titled “The Politics of Taste.”
On April 19, environmental advocate, civil rights activist and attorney Van Jones presents F&M’s Common Hour lecture, “Environment and Equity: The Interface Between Sustainability and Social Justice.” Jones' visit is sponsored by the Wohlsen Center, the Center for Liberal Arts & Society, the Environmental Speakers Series, Bonchek College House and Weis College House.
“I'm so excited for Van Jones' visit. He's a hero of mine, a true inspiration,” said Sarah Dawson, director of the Wohlsen Center. “So many people came together to make it happen.”
The week concludes with the ever-popular Trashion Show in New College House on Friday, April 20, at 8 p.m., for which students design and model fashion made with trash. Students with a desire to “turn trash into treasure” may contact to enter the contest.
“I hope that something during the week inspires members of the F&M community to make a change for the better,” Dawson said. “Whether it's to reduce the amount of trash that they're making or the amount of electricity they're using or to walk to school, every little bit matters. I'd like to encourage everyone to do what they can do.”