Earth Day on Campus
By Christine Neff
Small gestures can lead to big changes, at least that’s the hope of East Carolina University faculty members, staff and students who participated in Earth Day activities April 22.
Both Joyner Library and the International Affairs program sponsored tree plantings on campus in honor of the nation’s 39th annual Earth Day celebration.
Larry Boyer, dean of Academic Library and Learning Resources, called the effort a “great way” for Joyner Library to get involved. “This library is about more than books. It’s about community,” he said, before cutting the ribbon on a live oak tree near the Langford-Joyner clock tower.
The tree planting was organized by Joyner Library’s Green Task Force, a group of employees dedicated to researching and implementing sustainable environmental practices in the university library environment. Matt Reynolds, public services librarian at Joyner, said the group, which formed in July 2008, has published newsletters, hosted speakers and is conducting a “green audit” of library services.
They also started a “green weeding” program to divest the library of books no longer of use in an environmentally friendly way.
Though these actions may be small, they make a difference and may inspire others to follow the lead, Reynolds said. “We see the library as the intellectual heart of campus, so it makes sense for us to start conservation efforts here,” he said.
Joyner Library employees continued Earth Day activities by picking up trash along Cotanche Street between 5th and 10th streets. The Support Staff Assembly at Joyner Library has adopted the roadway, and volunteers clean it of debris once a semester.
Tracie Hampton, a conservation technician at Joyner Library, said, “It’s a nice activity. We like keeping our corner of the world tidy.”
The International Affairs program planted two live oaks donated by ECU faculty members and students who wanted to offset their carbon footprints from international travels. Four individuals donated to the program, which is new this year and unique among universities.
“We’re trying to educate our study abroad students more about the environment and the effects of their travels,” said Brandi Dudley, assistant director for Education Abroad.
Before ECU students travel abroad, they are told about sustainable tourism practices, such as eating local foods and buying souvenirs made by local people. “Today’s students are more concerned about sustainability,” Dudley said.