Cal U Students Care: Earth Day Celebrated

Apr 22, 2019

As Cal U students marked the national event, their passion for supporting environmental protection was evident.

earth day

Students work on a mural during Earth Day.


As Cal U students celebrated Earth Day, their passion for supporting environmental protection was evident. 

Coordinated by the Horticulture and Sustainability Club, Earth Day activities at Cal U took place throughout the morning and afternoon of April 22 in the Natali Student Center. The celebration concluded with students tending three campus gardens. 

Outside the Performance Center, drawing class students worked on a 30-foot mural depicting a scene of the closed Hatfield’s Ferry Power Station along the banks of the Monongahela River. 

They were drawing in the flora and fauna of the scene after taking photographs at the location earlier in the semester. 

“I love drawing, and I want to work in environmental consulting, so these are both passions of mine,” said senior geology major Alexandra “Alex” Cheek. “Earth Day is important to me for people to be responsible consumers, know what they’re buying and who they’re buying from, and to make sure it was ethically derived.” 

Sustainability Club Vice President Emily Garrison-Walko, a senior studying plant biology and conservation ecology, led her group’s efforts. The club was collecting donations of for carrot and lettuce plants. 

“Maintaining and supporting the environment is a big part of our purpose, and today is a good day to celebrate and be a little extra thankful for Mother Nature,” she said. 

Year-Round Commitment for Cal U

While many student groups collaborated to make the Cal U’s Earth Day celebration a success, Brian Cunningham emphasized the same teamwork is needed to keep Cal U’s entire campus sustainable, safe and eco-friendly every day. 

Cal U’s director of Environmental Health and Safety, Cunningham delivered the event’s keynote address. 

During his talk he offered intriguing facts and figures — for example, roughly 30 tons of cardboard from the Natali Student Center are recycled per month. Cal U also keeps a computerized list of the types of chemicals that can be found on campus, and their specific locations. 

Cunningham commented on the importance of safely removing materials during renovations of buildings, like Coover Hall, and of tracking their disposal afterward. 

“We recycle everything from our used motor oil to tires,” he said. “Things have come a long way, but we also make sure that once these things leave here they go to the proper landfills or where they are supposed to go. 

 “Environmental and industrial hygiene intertwine, and everything’s important.” 

Cunningham welcomes feedback from all campus members or visitors. 

“If you see something that doesn’t seem right, please ask us and we’ll check it out,” he said. “We’ve gotten great ideas from the campus community and are always looking to improve.” 

Along with installing a pollination garden in front of Frich Hall, students planted and worked on at the SAI Farm and at the sensory garden located outside the Learning and Language Center in Morgan Hall. 

“We are grateful for every student who took time out of their busy Monday to participate, help and show their appreciation for our environment,” said Daja Douglas, event coordinator and sustainability club president. 

“Cal U students care.”