Originally published in the Retriever Weekly
Spring has finally arrived and green is in. UMBC students have finally been able to celebrate a warm, green spring on campus after a frigid winter season. Last Wednesday, on April 19, more than 20 student organizations came together on the Quad to celebrate Green Fest.
Although April 19 was not as particularly sunny or warm as the surrounding days, hundreds of students filed through the Quad to interact with the environmentally-savvy student organizations. A wide range of clubs showed up to participate in the event, from the Photography Club, to the Environmental Task Force, to the performers of UMBeats, to fraternities such as Pi Kappa Phi and Alpha Phi Omega. Even the representatives of the UMBC Bookstore came to celebrate. Green Fest went from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., which gave plenty of time for the hundreds students to come through and check out the many tables. The many foods, games and giveaways kept the event lively, especially during free hour. The latter portion of the event even featured live music from UMBC artists.
Those who enjoyed the event have the leaders of the Students for Environmental Awareness to thank for organizing the event such as Sarah Douglas, a junior chemical engineering major who serves as vice president of the organization. For those who are not aware of SEA, Douglas explains that SEA “serves to promote sustainable actions through an inclusive and safe environment,” she said. “We do a variety of different environmental work, including attending marches and protests, tree planting, stream clean ups and of course hosting Green Fest and EcoFest. We also just create a safe place for people to talk about environmental issues and get to meet like-minded people, so we also like to take trips to the zoo or the aquarium to get to know each other better.”
Douglas has helped run the last three Green Fests, and despite the overall success of this year’s rendition, it had a few setbacks. “Some of the organizations who were supposed to table did not show up that day, so that was a little disappointing. The weather also kept a lot of people inside, but overall there was a pretty steady stream of people passing by, especially during free hour,” she said. “Also, I think it would definitely be great to get out advertising for the event sooner and make sure that organizations who committed to table are reminded to make an effort to come out, because people always seem to have a great time!”
Despite the minor issues, Douglas still thinks that Green Fest served its purpose and went well. “I think it was a really great time to appreciate nature and all of the beauty it provides. Everyone starts to get a little stir crazy as the weather gets nice, so I think it was a wonderful way to get people out appreciating nature and each other in a fun setting,” she said.
However, for Douglas, Green Fest means much more than a recreational campus event. She said, “I have always been passionate about environmental protection as I grew up in a rural area with a lot of exposure to nature. I learned to appreciate all of the benefits and the complexity of the environment. I developed a passion for wanting to reduce my footprint and help reverse the damages that humans have caused to the earth. I have been a member of Students for Environmental Awareness since my freshman year and vice president the last year and a half. I was also the director for Global Brigades Environmental last year and was the Education Coordinator the year before. I also work in Dr. Hennigan’s lab, where I do research on particulate matter in the atmosphere and its effects on human health and the environment.”
“Green Fest is one way that we try to spread our love for the earth to our colleagues and we welcome everyone of all backgrounds to come out to our other events and get involved. Our number one goal is to promote sustainability, the other is to have fun and make some great friendships,” Douglas said.