by Joy Esiemokhai

Sustainability is an increasingly important social, corporate, political and scientific issue. It is also one of the key focus points of the University of West Georgia’s strategic plan for campus and community development. The university participates in eco-friendly causes such as Arbor Day, Tree Campus USA, and Recycle Mania. In accordance with its green commitment, UWG is currently celebrating its second annual Earth Week through April 16.

Students dig in the dirt.Sponsored by the UWG Sustainability Council, Earth Week 2015 festivities promise several exciting and engaging events, beginning with “Rake the Lake,” which took place on April 4, during which students helped clean up around the GreenBelt by Lake Carroll. On April 6, guests were treated to a showing of the critically acclaimed documentary, Waste Land. The film follows Brazilian artist Vik Muniz’s collaboration with waste pickers from Jardim Gramacho, one of the world’s largest landfills until its closing in 2012.

Earth Week is not just about community service and awareness, but rather all aspects of sustainability, which is why students interested in a job in sustainability have the opportunity to attend a career panel. The program will take place at 6 p.m. on April 7 at the Tanner School of Nursing building room 106.

“The career panel features a diverse range of professionals involved in sustainability, from the EPA to local organic farming,” said Dr. Hannes Gerhardt, UWG assistant professor of geography and director of sustainability. “These professionals will help students at UWG understand what kind of sustainability jobs are out there and how to get them.”

One of the biggest activities on the calendar is the Keep Carroll Beautiful Electronics Recycling event, which will be held in conjunction with Southwire on April 11from 9 to 1 p.m. Community members are encouraged to drop off old electrical appliances, such as computers, printers, and DVD players, at the Southwire office for reuse or recycling. Household items, such as microwaves and refrigerators, will not be accepted.

Other activities planned for Earth Week include a monarch butterfly habitat planting from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. on April 10 at the Coliseum parking lot, and a Sustainability Expo, the Earth Week grand finale, from 4 p.m. till 8 p.m. on April 16 at the AMP in downtown Carrollton.

“This expo is an effort on the part of UWG to bring the various organizations and businesses that work with sustainability together to communicate with each other and with the community,” Dr. Gerhardt said. “Sustainability is a growing field within business, and a growing concern within the citizenry and local government, so it makes sense to bring all the players together and allow them to share what they do.”

A highlight of this year’s Earth Week is the Sustainability Video Clip Competition. UWG students, faculty, and staff have the opportunity to win a Kindle Fire reading device by posting a 15-second creative Instagram video expressing an idea or commitment to “go green at UWG.”

Participants are required to upload their submissions with the hashtag #gowestgogreen2015 to their Instagram accounts by midnight on April 10, and may submit a maximum of two separate videos per account. The uploader of the winning video will be presented with the prize at the Sustainability Expo on April 16.

Dr. Gerhardt credits the celebration of Earth Week at UWG to “the active support offered by President Marrero […] The ability to offer a whole week of events is due to the establishment of the director of sustainability at UWG and the willingness of the president to fund Earth Week,” he added.

For more information on the events and activities planned for Earth Week 2015, visit www.westga.edu/green/4061.php. Interested parties can also contact Dr. Gerhardt at hgerhard@westga.edu.

Posted on April 7, 2015