Happy Earth Day: Earth Fest

Earth Fest was recently celebrated on campus under the Student Union Pavilion on Thursday, April 18 in honor of Earth Day on April 22. It was hosted by the Society of Environmental Advocates (SEA), a group on campus passionate about helping the environment through service and learning. The festival went on from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. 

Earth Fest has been happening for at least a few years now at UT. Talking to the Vice President of SEA, Brock, and other members of the planning committee for the event, it was shared that the purpose of Earth Fest is to promote sustainability in the Toledo area in collaboration with organizations both on and outside of campus. There were several fun activities and opportunities to do just that.

Students ordering from a food truck. Photo by Tori Ricks for Juice House.

A Frankly Plant Based Kitchen food truck was present, serving vegan hotdogs that could be ordered in a few different styles with your preferred toppings. A free ticket for the food truck could be earned by answering trivia at the SEA booth. There was also a station to pot your own plant and take it with you, which was provided by the Student Green Fund, a campus group that funds projects to make UT more green and sustainable. There was another chance to receive a plant by playing Plant Pong, a table set up with small pots to throw ping pong balls in. 

Plants available for potting. Photo by Tori Ricks for Juice House. 
Abigail, SEA member, running Plant Pong. Photo by Tori Ricks for Juice House. 

The largest part of Earth Fest were the booths, however. The SEA planning committee said that they had sent out at least four to five emails each to different groups. Many of the groups that came have been present in the past, but a few new ones joined this year as well, like Clairos, for instance, a company manufacturing automotive batteries in Lucas County. 

A closer look at a couple booths. Photo by Tori Ricks for Juice House. 

All of these booths were related to sustainable and natural ideas in some way. Everyone was welcome to come to them to find out more about what these groups were doing or believed in, including handouts with information and how to get involved, free goodies to take, tote bags, stickers and the like. 

Ohio Department of Natural Resources’ booth where you could observe native aquatic organisms. Photo by Tori Ricks for Juice House. 
Travis, volunteer for Citizens’ Climate Lobby, standing with physical representations of gas emissions that one person can produce daily by driving. Photo by Tori Ricks for Juice House. 

To name a few of the groups not pictured, there was the SEED Initiative or UT’s Office of Sustainability, the UT Engineering Council, Glass City Community Solar, Partners for Clean Streams, Liv’s Native Nursery LLC and Wilderness Expeditions. All of the booths at the festival offered the opportunity to learn more about local wildlife and plants, climate, sustainable technologies and what efforts people in the community are actively putting in to raise awareness and protect natural resources.

Wild Ones Oak Openings Region’s display board. Photo by Tori Ricks for Juice House. 
Goodies at Keep Toledo Lucas County Beautiful’s booth. Photo by Tori Ricks for Juice House. 

While Earth Fest is celebrated with Earth Day, its importance stretches beyond that. A perspective and awareness is spread about campus and the greater city of Toledo, having the ability to engage in these sustainable practices, which will improve our environment and living in the future. Since the University of Toledo is an important institution within Toledo and can supply services beyond the classroom, holding events like this offers spaces for students to take part, bridging campus and community. 

Missed out or excited for more? Be sure to keep your eyes open around Earth Day next year to stop by!