Now that the spring semester is finally on its way out, we are finally getting our first weeks of warm, sunny bliss. The cherry blossoms have bloomed on Academic Row, and students are soaking up the sun between classes. Spring is finally in full bloom, and student groups such as the Students for Environmental Awareness are taking advantage of it.
On April 20, SEA held their annual Green Fest on the Quad between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The beautiful weather was just one of the reasons why so many students came out to Green Fest. There was live music preformed by various individuals and groups, including Ariella Joy, the Mama’s Boys, the Cleftomaniacs and the Stilettos. There was also plenty of free food, environmentally-aware crafts and giveaways. Many other student organizations were welcomed to come out for Green Fest and show support through tabling. The Rock Climbing Club, the American Institute of Chemical Engineers, the Food Recovery Network, Global Brigades and Students for Life were some of the organizations present.
SEA’s Green Fest is but one piece of their annual week long festival known as EcoFest, which always takes place during the week of Earth Day. Karina Keefe, a sophomore majoring in chemical engineering on the Environmental Engineering and Sustainability track and president of SEA, spoke more about EcoFest. “It encompasses a series of events, all with the goal of promoting sustainability, engaging students in important issues and spreading the love of nature in general. We usually have a service event, some fun events such as hikes and movie nights, some events that are co-hosted with other organizations and Green Fest.”
Outside of EcoFest, SEA devotes its time to creating a solid community of students who are bound by their love for the environment and sustainability, and pouring out the love onto the UMBC community in various ways. “The goal is to give people an outlet to express their passion for sustainability at whatever level of commitment works for them,” said Keefe. “We try to host a variety of events such as tree plantings, stream cleanups, petitioning, bus trips to marches and rallies, hikes, documentaries and guest speakers. We’ve also been able to connect our members to research and internship opportunities in the past. The environment impacts our lives in so many more ways than we realize, and SEA is helping people make those connections in their academic, professional and personal lives.”
Communities, such as SEA, are one of the strongest facets of UMBC. Students with common values and goals team up all around campus on a daily basis and truly strive to make their world a better, safer and happier place. Keefe said, “I think UMBC is headed in a great direction as more people become interested in environmental issues. We see students empowering one another and supporting one another in very tangible ways, and we see successful initiatives on campus led by students such as the Prove-It campaigns, and it just shows how much power we really do have to change our community for the better.”
“I also think a lot of students are looking for ways to infuse their studies with passion,” said Keefe. “Getting involved in sustainability is a great way to do that.”