Students filled College Green Friday for Greenfest, a sustainability expo featuring student groups and creative activities to get the Penn community thinking about environmental issues in their daily lives.
Greenfest is hosted each semester by Penn Environmental Group. This year's event featured booths from member groups of the Student Sustainability Association at Penn, local activist organizations, and environmentally conscious businesses and restaurants. Some participating groups included the Penn Beekeeping Club, Penn Democrats, and Indego, a Philadelphia-based bicycle-sharing company.
"[Greenfest is] one of the few events that bring together this number of environmental-related groups at Penn," Penn Environmental Group co-chair and College sophomore Marina Dauer said.
At the event, each booth featured creative activities to raise awareness about sustainability and highlight dire environmental issues. Penn Closet, a student-run secondhand store, hosted a pop-up clothing sale to encourage students to purchase recycled clothing. Epsilon Eta, an environmental fraternity, organized a bag-stamping activity with paint and stencils showcasing a number of environmental slogans. Penn Environmental Group created a competition to see which students could sort a pile of trash the fastest into landfill, compost, and recycling piles. Penn Beekeeping Club offered free samples of honey, and Penn Outdoors Club roasted s'mores.
Students said they appreciated the chance to learn more about campus sustainability groups.
“I was looking to get more involved with clubs that support sustainability, and I didn’t know where I’d start looking," College sophomore Desiree Izecksohn said. "This is a really great opportunity to know what's going on on campus.”
“It’s cool that they’re reaching out to us and they're telling [us] all these issues," College freshman Hannah Yoon said, adding that she is especially interested in vegetarianism and the careful use of scarce resources such as meat and water.
Greenfest is the culmination of a week-long series of events known as GreenWeek, which is organized by the various SSAP groups. GreenWeek this year featured events such as a "Climate Justice and Environmental Citizenship" panel hosted by many student groups and campus centers. The Climate Reality Project at Penn and Epsilon Eta also hosted screenings of the Netflix docuseries “Rotten” and the movie "Ice on Fire," which both detail possible methods to reduce carbon emissions and combat the climate change crisis.
SSAP co-chair Andrew Nyholm, a College and Engineering senior, said Greenfest in the coming spring semester will coincide with the 50th anniversary of Earth Day.
“This Greenfest should be more of a prelude to the one in the spring,” Nyholm said. He hinted that SSAP may collaborate with the 1.5* Minute Climate Lecture Series and its founder, Germanic Languages and Literatures professor Simon Richter.
College junior Samira Mehta said Greenfest gave Penn's sustainability clubs the chance to come together. Mehta is the co-founder and co-president of Isla Urbana at Penn, an organization that supports the implementation of rainwater harvesting systems in Mexico.
“I really like events like this where we have all these clubs that are coming together and mixing and also talking to people about what they are doing," Mehta said. "I think it’s a really great way to, one, spread a message about being green on Penn’s campus, and also to form relationships with other clubs.”
Correction: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Greenfest is hosted by the Student Sustainability Association at Penn. Greenfest is hosted by Penn Environmental Group, while GreenWeek is hosted by SSAP.
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