Earth Day at UNH

Cassie Hollasch '22 | English, Writing and Business Administration

This Earth Day the Sustainability Institute at UNH is celebrating by hosting and participating in campus-wide hosted events. Sustainability is a core value at UNH and we recognize that tackling the climate crisis must go hand-in-hand with issues like ending poverty, systemic racism and other forms of inequality, improving health and education, reducing inequality, spurring economic growth, and other sustainability challenges. Our community commitment to sustainability is plain to see in the variety of events being hosted across campus throughout the week of Earth Day, April 21st-27. There will be events both in-person and virtual to coincide with the University’s COVID-19 policies.

The events kick off on Wednesday the 21st; there will be a discussion on the methods of bringing clean energy to low-income communities through community-based financing. If you’re interested in clean energy and business, Michael Swack and Eric Hangen from the Center for Impact Finance will be leading this discussion at the Carsey School of Public Policy. The event will be held virtually at 6 p.m.

On the 22nd, the university has many planned events to celebrate the actual holiday. UNH students will be presenting carefully curated semester-long research projects at the first-ever University-wide Sustainability Research Symposium at the Undergraduate Research Conference. These students have put immense effort into researching a multitude of topics including the Fair-Trade Certification of the UNH Durham campus, Evaluation of Sustainable Investing by ESG Principles for the UNH Foundation, and much more. Participate virtually during the hours of 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and 2-3:30 p.m.

At 12:30 p.m., the Changemaker Collaborative will be hosting the Changemaker Speaker Series featuring best-selling author, entrepreneur, and CEO Margaret Heffernan to discuss sustainable solutions from her latest award-nominated book, Uncharted.

At 3:30 p.m., the College of Liberal Arts will be hosting a half-hour Earth Day celebration consisting of live music, a social science talk, and literary reading. Jacques Lee Wood, UNH resident artist, and cellist will perform a short composition written by UNH professor Lori Dobbins. Lawrence Hamilton, UNH professor of sociology, will lead the social science talk with a speech on his research around perceptions and attitudes toward climate change. Jaed Coffin, writer, and UNH assistant professor, will read from a literary text on the theme of Earth Day. The event will be held on the Great Lawn of Thompson Hall while following social distancing guidelines.

For those that prefer to volunteer in smaller groups, Nature Groupie, a project of UNH’s Cooperative Extension, will be hosting many cleanup events this month – including one at Pettee Brook, which will take place around Strafford and Rosemary Avenue in Durham. The crew will be using the Litterati mobile app to help log and categorize litter in order to inspire packaging changes by corporations.

At 4 p.m., The Saul O Sidore Memorial Lecture Series will highlight the power of storytelling and oral traditions in sharing knowledge within Indigenous communities. UNH Alumna and Abenaki storyteller, and Louise Profeit-LeBlanc, a Traditional Storyteller from the Nacho Nyak Dun First Nation of the Yukon Territory in Northern Canada, is founder of the Yukon International Storytelling Festival and the Society of Yukon Artists of Native Ancestry are featured speakers. 

Starting at 4:30 p.m., all three UNH Dining Halls will be serving a special “Spring Harvest Dinner” that incorporates local products and partners. The meal has been designed in collaboration with the 21-Day Racial Equity Habit-Building Challenge at UNH. After dinner, join the Student Environmental Action Coalition at 5-6 p.m. for a Kahoot game focused on sustainability with prizes for the winners! Follow this Zoom link to join.

Wondering what hip-hop has to do with Earth Day? At 5:30 p.m. head over to the virtual event sponsored by UNH's Earth Systems Research Center and the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee of the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans and Space. Guest speakers will help us look back over the 51 years of environmental history since the first Earth Day and then look ahead towards a future where racial justice and Earth stewardship can be recognized as a common goal. 

Finally, on the 25th, the Freedom Café will be hosting a virtual discussion or “Tea Time” on conscious consumerism and human trafficking. Participants are encouraged to bring their own cup of tea and the first 10 registrants of participating resident halls will be treated to a free cup of fair-trade tea delivered to their respective residence hall lounge. The event will be hosted at 12:30 p.m. by the UNH Sustainability Advocates and is open to residents of Congreve, Handler, Hubbard, Hunter, Minis, Williamson, and Upper Quad!

Event details, registration links, and other volunteer opportunities can be found here. Get involved this Earth Day at UNH!