On April 19th, the SMCCCD Sustainability Committee at Skyline College hosted an Earth Day event that brought together students, staff, and faculty to celebrate our planet and learn how we can all do our part to protect it. The inaugural Skyline Earth Fest, spearheaded by Skyline College Sustainability Committee members Aria Frangos, Qimmah Tamu and Marisa Thigpen, was designed to engage our campus community and encourage conversation and action about protecting and conserving the earth’s resources in support of our planet’s health. The campus community was invited to join, share activities and table at the event as well as post how they help protect, celebrate and help create a more sustainable planet the earth through personal choices via our Skyline Earth Fest Padlet.
Phi Theta Kappa, International Honor Society members were excited to do some outreach through this event. PTK member Erin Denny educated table visitors about foraging and wild foods. In addition, she shared her homemade pine preserves (jelly) made with baby pinecones and pine needles served on crackers with cheese – a totally new flavor for most brave enough to try with most finding it “yummy!”
The Museum of Tomorrow exhibit was an exciting visual centerpiece of the event in the quad, encouraging students walking by to stop and check out what was going on. This interactive exhibit is one of many designed by our District Utility and Sustainability Coordinator, Jessica Ho. Overall, the Museum of Tomorrow portrays climate change via an innovative approach, translating the abstract and distant issue of “climate change” into a tangible and immediate experience. Through visual, experiential, Instagrammable exhibits, the concept of battling climate change was shifted into something digestible and actionable. Jessica and the Sustainability Team displayed the Fast Fashion and Wish Tree exhibits to inform students about the impact of clothing waste and to get students to share their “wishes” for a sustainable Skyline College campus, respectively.
Another highlight of the event was the Clothing Swap, where attendees could bring gently used clothing to exchange with others. The swap helped reduce wasted clothing items and found many happy students a fun new piece for their wardrobes. It was also a fun way to promote mindfulness around buying clothes and sustainable fashion practices in general!
Two local off-campus partners also joined us for the event, Pacific Beach Coalition and California State Parks at Half Moon Bay State Beach. The Pacific Beach Coalition representatives shared information about ways to get involved in local beach clean-ups, including their official Earth Day Clean-Up. The representative from Half Moon Bay State Beach offered an engaging table with a planting activity to cultivate local wildflowers and educational materials on supporting local ecosystems. Another planting opportunity at Earth Fest invited participants to bring plant clippings or rooted babies to help repopulate the flora in the building 7 ‘Grow Globe’ (new name). Biology Professor Michael Song supported the effort in rooting and planting the seeds and clippings and helping our young friends from the Skyline College Child Development Laboratory Center with a fun planting activity that they could take back to their classroom or homes.
The e-waste collection was also a popular feature of the event, allowing campus community members to dispose of electronic waste in an environmentally friendly way. Used batteries and broken or old electronics and cables were collected to be properly recycled and disposed of by the District Sustainability Team of Jessica Ho, Adrielle Cailipan, and Ananya Subramanian. The event also provided a space to share information about ways to save electricity via our digital choices with a useful infographic and webpage produced by Aria Frangos.
Overall, the inaugural Skyline Earth Fest was a success in engaging our campus community to make a positive impact on the planet where we can all contribute to a healthier and more sustainable future. After the event, a Skyline Earth Fest volunteer shared that she found the event inspiring to be in community with others who are passionate about the environment and thinking creatively about how we can care for the world around us. Thank you to everyone who volunteered and participated in this event and let us continue to celebrate and protect our planet every day!
You can find out more information including links to sustainability podcasts, Skyline College Library resources and so much more by visiting our Skyline Earth Fest Linktree. For details and data on District-wide sustainability projects and metrics, visit the SMCCCD Sustainability website.
Article by Aria Frangos and Marisa Thigpen I Photos by Marisa Thigpen