Earth Day Fair

By Aaron Bocook, News Writer

Rain could not dampen the spirits at EWU’s Earth Day Fair 2014, which featured Eastern’s first ever recycled art contest.

“Rain is good. I can’t complain,” said Kelsey Mae Crane, EWU Dining Services administrative assistant for sustainability initiatives. “It’s unfortunate for the feeling of Earth Day though, since it’s nice to be outside.”

The Earth Day Fair was held April 22, and though it was originally scheduled to be held in the campus mall, it was moved indoors to the PUB MPR due to the rain.

Crane came up with the idea for the recycled art contest as a way for students to become involved with recycling and sustainability on campus.

“There is a big push right now to rescue resources,” Crane said. “Currently, most items that we purchase are used for maybe six months and then thrown away. People don’t really have a good idea of what ‘away’ means. ‘Away’ is kind of getting overwhelmed, like landfills and incinerators.”

Emily Bond, an EWU junior and employee of the university’s recycling department, along with a team of other students, entered a greenhouse made completely of water bottles and repurposed wood for the contest.

“All of the water bottles used [for the greenhouse] are ones sold on the Eastern campus,” Bond said. “One of our goals is getting rid of the sales of one-time-use plastic water bottles on campus.”

Originally a special education major, Bond said she switched her major to biology and environmental science once she started researching recycling. She worked at the garbology and  recycling event table at the Earth Day Fair, which included a bottled water petition.

With the new water refill stations all over campus now, Bond said it is much easier for students to bring their own water bottles to refill instead of using one-time-use water bottles.

Bond said she is working to get more recyclable items on campus, such as water in aluminum cans.

“Once you recycle plastic water bottles, they can only be made into plastic bags, and that’s not very good,” Bond said. “With water in aluminum cans, you can drink it, recycle it and it will be back on the shelves in three months. It doesn’t lose its durability, and it can be recycled over and over again.”

According to Bond, only about one-third of EWU students recycle, a number which she is trying to increase.

Crane said that Bond is one of the students spearheading the recycling movement on campus, which is a big step in rescuing resources and changing peoples’ orientation towards “stuff.”

“If we are going to be a 70 percent consumer society, then we need to be able to trust that things are made to last,” Crane said. “We are trying to get students and community members and faculty and staff oriented with what they perceive to be junk or trash, things they don’t need any more that they could just replace. We need to rethink that cycle, that linear cycle, and make it more circular, a loop where there is no waste.”

The names of the winners of the recycled art contest will be released soon, Crane said, with first place winning a $200 prize. The second place winner will receive $120 to Yarrow Hot Yoga and Wellness Studio in Spokane, and a third place prize of two dinner entrees at Anthony’s in Spokane.

Bond said all of her work sorting through old milk jugs from coffee shops is well worth it.

“I don’t come to class smelling for no reason,”  Bond said. “We actually do recycle [at Eastern], and we are just trying to get the word out there and educate more people about it.”