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Earth Week 2017 events include activities aimed at building a more sustainable community

April 17, 2017

Laura Sands works alongside students planting trees
Laura Sands, center, works alongside students to plant one of 10 Patriot elm trees on the east side of West Campus Drive during the university's 2016 Earth Week festivities.

In the week leading up to Earth Day, April 22, the Virginia Tech community will celebrate Earth Week with various activities.

Recognized by more than 193 countries, Earth Day focuses on the environmental issues the world faces. Virginia Tech’s annual Earth Week festivities begin today and will highlight an environmentally friendly theme each day.

Monday is clean energy, Tuesday is community, Wednesday is food and health, Thursday is nature and conservation, and Friday is social justice.

The week's festivities begin Monday, from 6:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with Bike to Campus Day. Officials from the Office of Alternative Transportation will have stations set up at Duck Pond Trail, Squires Plaza, and McBryde Hall, where they will give away free snacks, water, and other items. Monday's activities also include Solarfest, hosted by Students for Sustainable Practice, and the Tossed and Found Best of Waste Art Contest, hosted by the Office of Sustainability. The Blacksburg Farmers Market will have a Community Art Auction from 6-8 p.m. at Glade Road Growing.

The importance of community will be emphasized Tuesdaywith events such as a lecture on “The Renewable Energy Landscape” from 12:30-1:30 p.m. in Fralin Auditorium and a community potluck from 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Wong Park. The potluck will feature exhibits by several local organizations, including DivestVT, Citizens for Arsenal Accountability, the NRV Plant Society, VA Master Naturalists, and the Montessori School.

Food and health day on Wednesday will include an Environmental Coalition booth on the Drillfield, where members will share kitchen tips, environmentally friendly food alternatives, and superfood facts. There will also be a bug-eating contest and a chance to make do-it-yourself compost bins. Later that night, there will be a documentary screening of Cowspiracy from 7-9:30 p.m. (location to be determined, check website for details).

In support of  the nature and conservation theme on Thursday, student members of the Environmental Coalition will lead discussions about how to protect Stadium Woods and save the bees on the Drillfield. Laura Sands, professor of human development, will assist with a tree planting initiative near Hillcrest Hall (Drillfield side). Volunteers are welcome to help with the effort.

From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., community members can shop a Pop-Up Farmer’s Market & Herb Gardening on the Drillfield. From 4-5 p.m., participants can take a guided walk of Stadium Woods, during which they will collect trash and pull invasive plants. Trash bags will be provided, and participants should bring gloves if desired.

To highlight social justice on Friday, speakers from the Coalition for Justice and local candidate for state delegate, Steve McBride, will talk about issues of social justice from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Squires Lawn. There will also be a Collective Liberation Workshop from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Squires Lawn and a panel on Universal Basic Income from 6-7 p.m. in Squires Brush Mountain Room B.

The week's festivities will culminate on Earth Day, with a Green Tailgating event at the spring football game (begins at 11 a.m.) and the Satellite March for Science on Henderson Lawn with the Coalition for Justice.

On Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. community members are invited to help clean up the Duck Pond/Stroubles Creek.

A full schedule of events is available on the Environmental Coalition’s website

The Environmental Coalition hosts Earth Week each year with the support of Virginia Tech’s Office of Sustainability and Office of Alternative Transportation and more than 10 student and community groups.

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