By Autumn St.Pierre, Contributing Writer
Recently, the Sustainable Campus Coalition (SCC) hosted the Earth Day Festival at UMF to celebrate the environment with the campus and the community.
“It is meant to be an educational and fun event that allows people to enjoy music, food, and speakers while enjoying the outdoors,” said sophomore Kelly Toomey, a student leader of SCC.
Earth Day is one of SCC’s largest events and it has been put on for at least five years. “This year we had UMF students and alumni speaking on behalf of the importance of water conservation and eliminating food waste,” said Toomey.
The speakers included Louise Villemont, Donald Hutchins, and Holden Cookson. There were performances by Matt Hernandez, Clefnotes, Nuclear Salad, and members of the UMF Live Music Club.
A lot of preparation goes into this event. “We need to reserve a location at the beginning of the semester, and from there we have to find a set list of UMF musicians, plan a menu of local food, organize speakers, and gather prizes to raffle off,” said Toomey.
“This year we raffled off Fiddlehead Festival t-shirts, fruit and vegetable seeds, and free movie passes to Narrow Gauge Cinemas.”
Next year SCC would like to have the event earlier in the day to have warmer weather and more daylight.
“We would also like to organize some speakers from the community, people that have worked in the sustainability field that could really give us some good insight,” said Toomey. “Next year we would also like to have a 100% local menu.”
Sodexo generously sponsored the event this year with food mostly local to Maine. “Overall, the Earth Day event has been going strong and we really enjoy the relaxed nature of the event,” said Toomey.
SCC puts on several sustainability events every semester. Toomey and a co-worker pick up all of the food waste from the dining hall and bring it to the Farmington Cooperative Compost site. Compost gets delivered to the UMF pile three times a week.
SCC also maintains projects such as the Thrifty Beaver, a new thrift store and food pantry for students and staff.
Professor Lucas Kellett, co-leader of SCC with professor Drew Barton, have been involved with the club for five years. Kellett oversees the paid students. “We have eight of them right now,” said Kellett.
Kellett helps coordinate events with the community. “It’s mostly a student run organization,” said Kellett. “I’m basically there as an advisor and to facilitate what they want to happen.”
Along with effectively maintaining projects, plans for the next academic year include SCC adapting new ones like a campus garden or greenhouse.
“We want to keep things going, keep that wheel of sustainability going,” said Kellett.
SCC meetings are held every Monday and Friday at 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. in room 113 in the Education Center. The SCC offers paid and volunteer positions.