Earth week in full bloom

Santa Monica College is increasingly known for its efforts in sustainability to help reduce the Earth’s ecological footprint. Since Monday, April 23, SMC has been celebrating Earth Week on the main campus, offering students the opportunity to participate in numerous festivities throughout the week. “We’ve been celebrating Earth Week and Earth Day for several years now,” says Bruce Smith, SMC’s public information officer.

According to Smith, SMC has a commitment to sustainability and was named winner of Santa Monica’s 2009 Sustainable Quality Awards for its environmental practices and programs, including recycling and eco-friendly transportation.

Held by the EcoAction club and the Center for Environmental Studies, Earth Week will consist of environmental friendly activities that coincide with their chosen theme of sustainable transportation.

“I can tell you that the college community, including our Board of Trustees, is deeply committed to sustainability,” says Smith. “This includes the creation of our organic learning garden, which opened last fall.”

Earth Week will give students the chance to learn more about incorporating sustainability while on campus and in their personal lives.

“The purpose of Earth Week is to raise awareness about the current environmental crisis, educate students about their role, and engage the community in solutions for the future,” says Genevieve Bertone, SMC EcoAction Club adviser. All events during the week are free and open to the public.

On Monday, a screening of the film “Your Environmental Road Trip” was held in the HSS Lecture Hall 165. A question-and-answer session followed the screening with the director via Skype.

Van Jones, a recognized expert on green-collar jobs and former special advisor for President Barack Obama, gave a lecture titled “Green Jobs and Beyond,” on Tuesday, April 24.

Wednesday is “EcoHero Awards” Day, which will honor selected students and faculty who have helped keep SMC a green campus. There will be a luncheon dedicated to the SMC student recycling team and Tom Corpus, the Grounds Department manager.

Under the leadership of Corpus, the department has implemented the Organic Learning Garden. A sustainable transportation themed festival is planned for Thursday. This Earth Day festival will include ecology themed music and art, and free food. There will also be a treasure hunt for the chance to win raffle prizes, one of which includes a safety gear and a new mountain bike donated by Helen’s Cycles, a bicycle shop in Santa Monica.

SMC President and Superintendent Dr .Chui L Tsang will conclude Thursday’s event with a presentation at the Quad about the “Any Line, Any Time” program, a successful initiative allowing students to access Santa Monica’s Big Blue Bus for free. The Earth Week celebration will conclude on Friday with a community bus ride for a local beach cleanup with Heal the Bay, an environmental advocacy group dedicated to cleaning up the Santa Monica Bay. Volunteers will board the Big Blue Bus to Santa Monica College’s adopted beach, Tower 18.

“This is truly going to be one of the best earth weeks yet,” says Bertone.

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