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Penn's Earth Week 2024 will offer a variety of tours, panel discussions, and community-building events from April 20 to April 26. Credit: Anna Vazhaeparambil

The University's annual Earth Week began on campus, featuring over 30 events that will take place from April 20 to 26.

Penn Sustainability hosts Earth Week to provide students, faculty, and staff with insight into the climate, nature, and environmental justice. Over thirty events will be offered on campus and virtually across the week, ranging from panel discussions with climate scientists to tours of the Morris Arboretum. 

This year, the theme is "Restore and Regenerate" to encourage community-building amongst students as they learn about what revitalizes the planet’s natural systems. 

Penn Sustainability Manager Noah Swistak said that Earth Week will offer students the chance to engage with a variety of topics that can help them learn more about the different facets of environmentalism. He shared that he was particularly excited for GreenFest, a tabling festival on College Green that will act as a symbolic marker of Earth Week’s conclusion. 

“Greenfest hosts a collection of student groups, nonprofit organizations, and academic offices that table with information and activities such as painting trash bins,” Swistak said. “These different events brought together organizations who would not normally work together but collaborated with one another to put on these events for climate education.”

Another activity scheduled for this year is a tree-planting event on April 26, hosted by Penn’s newly founded Maqoor Environmental Club.  

“Students can come together in a community aspect and have a direct impact, even if it's a small community in a small area,” College first year and Maqoor Environmental Club board member Niel Pereria said. “I think there are pressing issues facing our generation and it is nice to see organizations and clubs on campus making some significant strides to create change.”

College first year and Maqoor Environmental Club board member Gevorg Ghazaryan said he hopes that the event sparks greater student engagement with local climate initiatives that operate year-round.

“The nice thing about environmental organizations is that it is not something to sweat about because there is a place for everyone,” Ghazaryan said. “It is important to participate in the events offered for sustainability, even if it is only once a month or so.” 

Other events this week include volunteering at Penn Farm, a discussion on Penn's transition to electric vehicles, and a tour of green infrastructure features on campus. 

Earth Week builds upon the sustainability-focused ideas discussed earlier in the year during Penn’s annual Climate Week and Energy Week. Swistak suggested that students focus on energy conservation, sustainable transportation usage, and plant-forward dining as easy ways to reduce their ecological footprint on a day-to-day basis.

Earth Day has been a tradition at Penn for 54 years. In collaboration with climate activists and city leaders, Penn students and faculty hosted the University’s first official Earth Day on April 22, 1970. Since then, the celebration has grown into a week-long event aimed at raising awareness about environmental justice and climate change.  

Students can view the complete schedule of event offerings throughout the week on the Penn Sustainability website.