The Green-a-Fair at William Paterson University, on April 5th, had every component of a fair including games, prizes, a bike-powered blender for fruit smoothies, live animals, and tons of free samples. The abundance of free pens replaced the typical Ferris wheel observed at county fairs.
The 10th annual Green-a-Fair, put on by the campus Climate Action Committee and Green Team, was the largest it has ever been. It moved to the university ballrooms to accommodate the many vendors eager to engage students in environmental activities. This exhibit of various vendors ranged from water conservation efforts to recycling awareness groups, petition signers, soil protectors, and Whole Foods Market (a sponsor of the event).
“-we have an administration of climate (change) deniers and a world that’s slowly burning so we certainly need to be more involved—not less”
“Our group educates people on climate change, it’s anti-fracking, and it also educates people on GMOs,” said Barbara Stomber from the Franciscan Response Team. Their table had a quiz about the environmental issues of today as an interactive tool for students. When asked about the intersectionality of politics and the environment in relation to the 2016 election Stomber offered, “We have an administration of climate [change] deniers and a world that’s slowly burning so we certainly need to be more involved—not less.” She optimistically added, “I’ve seen already that there are a lot of students up here, that makes me happy…I think the younger generation knows it [is an important topic] even more than the older generation.” To learn how to get involved with the team, or upcoming events visit their website.
In addition to the various stations, tables and activities the Green-a-Fair held a lecture series throughout the day to expose students to new ideas and perspectives. Kylie Sale, a Whole Foods Market sustainability officer spoke at the 9:30 session. Sale advises being aware of your personal food waste. She says, “If you’re an individual person and you’re shopping for yourself, as a student make sure you’re actually using the food that you’re purchasing, don’t let it go bad, [and] eat your leftovers. If there are university compost programs, use those.”
Meghan DeMora, studying to receive her master’s in Fine Arts from William Paterson University, attended the fair for the first time this year and worked the Green-a-Fair. When asked how she is being earth-conscious in her art classes DeMora supplied the reduce, reuse, recycle technique before heading for the garbage bin.
“There are very few things that can’t be reused”
“There are very few things that can’t be reused” She encourages. DeMora explained that besides being waste-conscious, students are also including environmentally friendly concepts into their work as a way to have a political voice through the arts.
She describes her shift from personal to political expression through the use of visual art, “I’m kind of switching gears Usually I do art in conceptual or expressive work, after I started [the master’s program] here I just started to do more political based art, so I’m kind of getting into that now.” DeMora is a great example of a student using their gifts and interests to speak out about environmental issues.
The Green-a-Fair exposed involvement opportunities for students available on and off campus, no matter the major or area of study. Small steps as simple as taking a shorter shower, turning the lights off, having a reusable water bottle or grocery bag, can make a huge difference in the quality of the planet we all share!