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Earth Day Fair brings the community together

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On one side of the Clark Student Center Atrium, two birds flapped their wings at the nearest passerby. On the opposite side, representatives from Lake Arrowhead State Park informed students about prairie dogs. In the center, a sculpture made of items that can no longer be recycled on campus towered over the scene to remind everyone of the purpose behind the 11 community organizations coming together: to celebrate Earth Day.

The Environmental Student Organization hosted their third annual Earth Day Fair, and this time they partnered with Kappa Pi Art Honors Society and the whole college of Fain Fine Arts to display sustainable art inside and to perform live jazz music as well as put on a theatrical show outside at Sunwatcher Plaza. If a student received a stamp on their ‘passport’ from at least 5 of the 11 community organizations that help the environment, their name was entered into a raffle for small prizes contributed by University Programming Board.

Alex Nelson, environmental science senior and president of ESO, said, “Every time that we’ve done this event, there has been a really good turnout, and there’s always been a really good response from the community, but I’ve noticed that this year because of our partnership with the Fain College of Fine Arts, we have a lot more interest of students from different disciplines. So attendance has improved, and in terms of the outreach that we’re doing, it has improved as well.”

The other aspect of the Earth Day Fair was the art. Members of Kappa Pi and ESO worked on the water bottle tree sculpture together. Jason Bly, assistant professor of art and faculty adviser of Kappa Pi, said they wanted the sculpture to be big enough to be seen from any viewpoint in the Atrium.

A sculpture of a tree made of plastic trash is displayed in the Clark Student Center Atrium during the Earth Day Fair April 22. Students in the Kappa Pi Art Honor Society and the Environmental Student Organization worked collaboratively on the sculpture that was originally built in the Fain Fine Arts Building. Photo by Mica Victorian

“This sort of community project is one that we don’t get to do very often, working with other groups towards something that would be so public like today. In doing so, it offered a way to work outside of our comfort zones,” Bly said. “It was great to work with those who might not have art as a background because everybody had a role.”

Shrum said the idea behind the sculpture is to show the amount of plastic that is building up without plastic recycling on campus.

“One of our members, Gerrant Guiste, said ‘lets make art pieces from the trash that could’ve been recycled.’ We thought ‘well none of us are very artistic,’ so we went to the artists and asked if they had any ideas, and they said ‘yeah let’s get started.’ So Kappa Pi took care of the art. They planned this amazing tree. It’s a feat of engineering if you ask me, and I would not have ever come that close,” Shrum said.

Bly said the the tables set up at the fair as well as the artwork that was displayed was a way to remind us of the importance of Earth Day, although the public often overlooks the holiday.

Shrum, on the other hand, said Earth Day Fair is a way to inform students of all the avenues they could use to impact the environment.

“This our the biggest one yet. That’s our hope, that people say ‘wow’ when they come, and this isn’t just school people, we’ve invited everyone from the community. We’ve put flyers in grocery stores, dorm rooms, and churches. We want everyone who is in the community to come. We have more plans in the future to get elementary schools to come, and get them while they’re young,” Shrum said.

 

ATTENDEE COMMMENTS

Alyssa Dimmick, finance sophomore | “Earth day is Important and it is important we bring awareness to what we are doing to the earth considering that we are moving into a more automated society and are caring less about farmers and being natural and really caring about the earth and we are caring more about technology and what we want to do as people instead of taking our planet into consideration.”

Brenna Rhodes, political science senior | “Recycling is incredibly important it sustains our planet keeping things out of the ocean which is super important because they are filling up more and more everyday. Another thing to mention is the city of Wichita Falls doesn’t have an adequate recycling system and it would be cool if we could get that going especially here on campus.”

 ScyDayah Quest, sociology senior | “Earth day should be a holiday and we shouldn’t have class so we all can go out and enjoy the earth.”

Corey Gentle, sports marketing Sophomore | “I didn’t even know it was Earth day but now I do I was in the Clark Student Center and happened to see it I think it is not only a good thing but smart to do something like this to educate and raise awareness.”

Rachel Shipley, theater sophomore | “The theater departments display was a kiddy pool filled with water and we placed different types of trash which made the water slimy and disgusting.”

Christine Maturo, assistant theater professor | “The kiddy pool display shows what we stand to lose if we don’t take back our planet.”

Kasey Lawson, theater freshman | “If you are not going to think about the fish, consider what you are doing to yourself. We do it and it just ends right back on your dinner plate.”

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ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY: Mica Victorian and Joseph Rader

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Earth Day Fair brings the community together