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Student Government holds annual Earth Day festival

(EN Photo / Alex Figares)

Self-portraits infused with fire, water, earth and wind — the four earthly elements — lined the Environmental Arts table and other student organizations, like the Colloquium Student Naturalists.

The tables offered information on the importance of campus wildlife during Student Government’s annual Earth Day Festival on Tuesday, April 11.

Jade Chalkley, Director of Sustainability for Student Government, worked alongside other student organizations to create a weeklong event with educational activities focusing on sustainability.

“Eagle Earth Day is one of the longest standing events here at FGCU,” Chalkley said. “We’ve had the sustainability component in our (FGCU) mission statement for so long, so it’s really important to our school as an identity.”

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The festival, combined with the Farmers Market, showcased earth friendly activities where attendees could blend their own smoothie while riding a stationary bike, or take home their own planted seeds.

Civil engineering major Philip Groenstein and environmental engineering major Araceli Dure are responsible for the blender-bike and built it together as an assignment for a substantiality and ngineering class.

To make the bike function, the pair had to disassemble the blender, build a base for the blender to sit on and hook the blender up to the bike.

Dure, an international student from Paraguay, believes the Earth Day Festival is a necessary and positive step forward.

“I studied environmental engineering back home and we never had anything like this,” Dure said. “I think it’s a very cool idea to bring awareness to people who just walk around.”

Dure hopes the bike-blender invention can prove there are different ways people can be sustainable without the use of power and electricity.

The Earth Day events initiated with a campus trail clean-up, hosted by the Campus Naturalists, on Sunday, April 9, and were followed by the Earth Day Festival and Wingstock Concert on Tuesday, April 11.

The festivities will end on Wednesday, April 12 with Earth Day Action, which features a tree planting opportunity and documentary showing.

Tuesday’s event ended with the second annual Wingstock, a free concert showcasing local artists.

In addition to educational opportunities, the festival also included an Earth Day inspired fashion show hosted by associate professor for environmental art Mary Voytek.

Seventeen environmental art students boasted hand-made outfits made from plastic Target bags, recycled water bottles, fishing line and paper plates to expose environmental and societal issues.

“I think this fashion show brings awareness to a lot of issues that are not necessarily thought of very often,” said art major Courtney Fraum. “Especially since we are a university that’s really concerned with the environment and our impact on it, it’s important to have these events going on to practice what we preach.”

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