UVM takes environmental steps

The University of Vermont is considered a ‘green’ school located in one of the most liberal states in the nation. Many students come here for just that reason, but many students question whether UVM lives up to the image. Earth Week was celebrated this year from April 16 to 22, and UVM offered students a variety of events to experience. On Monday, free smoothies were available in front of the library, and a speaker from the Burlington Wildlife Federation spoke at L/L. Tuesday night, Farmer Brown from the Farm Sanctuary came to speak to students at Aiken. There was also a lively debate on free-market environmentalism versus deep-ecology environmentalism. The Outing Club hosted a ‘sunrise hike’ in honor of Earth Week on Wednesday for all those willing to get up early. There was also a presentation on animal rights. Many students have noticed the flags erected on the main green in front of Billings. They are not the work of the ground staff. On Thursday the flags were put out to recognize the Darfur Genocide in a ‘field of flags.’ There was a teach-in sponsored by STAND, where fellow student Achier Mou gave a personal account of his escape from Sudan. Also on Thursday, the Unitarian Universalist Society held a vegan and vegetarian potluck for the many UVM students who follow this lifestyle. The week was also marked by a series of environmental films, such as “Wegman’s Cruelty,” “Tanuki Pom Poko,” and the critically acclaimed critique of American capitalism, “The Corporation.” The week culminated with an Earth Week parade and a sustainability fair on Friday. Students paraded up Main Street dressed in hilarious papier-m??ch?? masks and costumes. One student even had a pumpkin on his head. The parade was cheered on by the crowd as marchers towered on stilts and drums pounded in the air. The Sustainability Fair offered students a chance to learn about preserving the environment. Crowds filled the L/L walkway around noon on Friday as students wandered around to different tables. The event featured an example of a “sustainability dorm room” and a student in a coffee mug costume with the message, “reduce waste…carry a mug!” Posters informed students of the different types of natural energy, such as solar thermal energy, wave energy, hydro-electricity, and bio-fuels. A little known fact is that CATS campus buses are run on biodiesel. This helps reduce air pollution while being a renewable energy sourceAnother table featured ‘green cleaning products’ which had been developed by environmental science students. The project was a semester internship to create cleaning products that had no environmental hazards or toxic fumes. They are now being used in the Aiken building. Slade Garden Club was even on site to help students create their own potted plant to bring home. One of the fair’s big messages was buy local. The signs were evident everywhere. Burlington Bread was on hand to inform people of their local currency, which keeps money with the community. On the other side of campus there was a ‘Solar Bus’ parked right outside the bookstore, which offered “peace justice and good vibes.” The UVM Sugar Snow Party provided students with a cool treat on the hot Friday afternoon. There was even music, with “Atlantic Crossing” playing live for students. With lyrics like “Liquor Flowing freely in Vermont. Liquor flowing freely in Burlington,” how can anyone not appreciate this school? On Saturday there was a ‘Don’t Get Cooked Cookout!’ a globalization soccer game, and even a campus wide clean-up.