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Eastern Celebrates Earth Semester

Written by Jack Meltzer

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Willimantic, CT - Eastern Connecticut State University's campus is observing Earth Semester beginning March 31. From March 31 through May 5 the University will host a series of events and lectures around campus that will raise public awareness of bio fuels, global warming and many other energy-related issues.  Admission is free and the public is invited to all events.

Eastern's Sustainable Energy Studies Program in the Department of Environmental Earth Science is seeking nominations for the 2010 Earth Semester Awards. Five awards will be given, recognizing faculty, students and staff for specific and exemplary contributions to Eastern's reputation as an environmental leader.

Nominations can be e-mailed to Norma Vivar-Orum at vivarorumn@easternct.edu  as attachments or delivered by 4 p.m. on April 8 to Room 131B of the Science Building. Burkett Farquhar, owner of Eastern Mountain Sports in Waterford, will deliver the keynote address at an awards ceremony from 1 to 2 p.m. on April 21 in the Student Center Theatre.

 "Eastern holds social responsibility as a core value," said Norma Vivar-Orum, assistant to the chair of sustainable energy studies. "Earth Semester gives us an opportunity every spring to celebrate and renew our campus commitment to the environment. Some of our recurring events have grown in popularity and attendance by faculty, staff, students and members of the larger community. We hope Earth Semester 2010 events will build on our tradition and be enjoyed by record numbers of people."

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On March 31, at 7 p.m. in the Student Center Theatre, the Sustainable Energy Studies Program will host a workshop for homeowners, "Conservation and Solar Energy for Homeowners." Fred Loxsom, endowed chair of sustainable energy studies at Eastern, and Peter Governale, president of Tuscany Design Build, Inc., will lead the workshop. To register, call (860) 465-5729.

Also on March 31, from 3 to 6 p.m., students, faculty and staff will go on an educational hiking trip at Mansfield Hollow in Storrs. A van will leave the Clock Tower at 3 p.m. Persons interested in the trip can reserve a seat by emailing eoc@stu.easternct.edu.

On April 8, from noon to 1:30 p.m. in Room 301 of the Science Building, Early Childhood Education Professor Theresa Bouley will lead a discussion of Colin Beavan's book, "No Impact Man: The Adventures of a Guilty Liberal Who Attempts to Save the Planet, and the Discoveries He Makes About Himself and Our Way of Life in the Process."  The book chronicles Beavan's year-long effort to leave as little impact on the environment as possible.  During the year, Beavan relinquished motorized transportation, gave up many modern living accessories including electricity and even toilet paper, and began volunteering with environmental organizations.

On April 10, beginning at 10 a.m., the Fourth Annual Earth Day Three-Mile Trail Run and Earth Semester Challenge will take place at Mansfield Hollow State Park. Proceeds from the race will benefit the "No Student Left Inside" campaign initiated by the Eastern Outdoors Club. "We are encouraging everyone to attend and train to beat our target runners," said race organizer Vivar-Orum.

 

energy sustain- outside of science building-DSC_0786.JPGTarget runners are people whose sponsors agree to pay a fixed amount of money to "No Student Left Inside," an initiative of the Eastern Outdoors Club. The initiative was inspired by Department of Environmental Protection Commissioner Gina McCarthy during her visit to Eastern in 2007. It encourages young people and families to get outside and enjoy state parks and the natural environment.

"For example, Rhona Free, vice president for academic affairs, is a target runner," said Vivar-Orum. "For every female student, staff or faculty member over 40 years old who beats Rhona in the Earth Day Three Mile Trail Race, a $50 donation will be made to the 'No Student Left Inside' initiative."

On April 21, a second workshop, "Geothermal Energy for Homeowners," also lead by Loxsom and Governale, will take place at 7 p.m. in the Student Center Theatre. The public is invited. Admission is free, but registration is required.

 

energy-sustain- aerial of south residential villageDSC_1651.JPGThroughout the day on May 6 and 7 on the Webb Hall lawn, the Outdoors Club will host a No Student Left Inside Camp Out, distributing information on hiking; leading backpacking demonstrations; and sponsoring environmentally-related fun activities such as tie-dying, volleyball games, rock wall climbing and more. Farquhar will be on hand to discuss what camping equipment to buy before going camping, how to properly pack a back pack and more.

Also on May 7, from 10 a.m. to noon on the Science Building patio, the Department of Sustainable Energy Studies will present a variety of renewable energy demonstrations, including new technologies such as solar paneling fuels cells.

On May 14, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Science Building, Environment Earth Science Professor Alla Smirnova will lead a demonstration showcasing fuel cells, green jobs and sustainability.

 

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