UCI News

Student groups go for the green

UC Irvine students want to foster a sustainable culture that moves beyond hemp bags and energy-efficient light bulbs.

April 13, 2009

There. See that? On Colin Murphy’s shoulder? It’s an example of so-called green consumption that he says illustrates the need for UC Irvine’s first Earth Week, April 13-18.

Murphy carries a white book bag woven of hemp and organic cotton. A friend gave it to him because the third-year music and social ecology major is always preaching sustainability with a capital S.

So what’s the problem? “It was made in Nepal,” Murphy says with exasperation. “The energy it took to get this bag from Nepal to here completely negates its ‘greenness.’”

While Murphy and his fellow Earth Week ’09 organizers see improvement in students’ awareness of green consumption and sustainability, they say there’s still room for growth, and the six-day event will encourage that.

“We’re hoping to develop a culture around sustainability,” Murphy says. “We’re looking for a sign that it’s ingrained beyond just putting in energy-saving lightbulbs.”

Earth Week ’09 will conclude with an Earth Day celebration Saturday, April 18, in conjunction with Celebrate UCI, the campus’s annual open house.

Highlights include:

  • Life in the Peace Corps: 7 p.m. Monday, April 13, Balboa Room B, UCI Student Center.
  • The Role of Non-CO2 Greenhouse Gases in Climate Change: Mads Anderson, noon Tuesday, April 14, Dr. Joseph L. White Conference Room, Cross-Cultural Center.
  • Co-Mingling: Anne Krieghoff, 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, April 14, Social Science Lab 122, a presentation on the new recycling program for campus housing. Refreshments provided.
  • Eco-Friendly Fashion Show: Hosted by CalPIRG, noon Wednesday, April 15, Student Center Terrace.
  • The 11th Hour: ASUCI Film Series, 9 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, Humanities Instructional Building 100, a documentary on the endangered Earth. Snacks and a drawing for a bicycle featured.
  • Locally Endangered Around Us: Presented by the Environmental Nature Center, 3 p.m. Thursday, April 16, Dr. Joseph L. White Conference Room, Cross-Cultural Center.
  • Real Food Dinner: Presented by the Real Food Challenge, 5-8 p.m. Thursday, April 16, Mesa Commons, a meal of sustainable food sponsored by UCI Dining and a discussion of our current food system’s challenges and opportunities.
  • UCI Earth Day: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, April 18, Ring Mall. This year’s solar-powered celebration features student groups, nonprofit organizations and eco-friendly vendors. Free gifts include grocery tote bags. A part of Celebrate UCI in collaboration with ASUCI’s Wayzgoose festival.

Earth Week ’09 is presented by the Center for Service in Action and co-sponsored by the Urban Water Research Center, Associated Students, Green Campus, Anteaters for Recycling & Conservation, CalPIRG, the Real Food Challenge, and Students for Sustainability.