Students unite for planet earth
| Erika Hall reporter |
Students of all political and religious persuasions are finding a common ground in the Planetarian club.
“We just really try to emphasize that Republican, Democrat, Christian, Muslim, atheist, we all live on the planet, and it’s something that we should all take care of not because our political parties say so but because it’s the right thing to do,” said Taylor Cunningham, junior in integrated studies.
The Planetarian club is an on-campus eco-friendly, non-politically affiliated group that is focused on sustainability and resource management.
The Planetarians were formed a few years ago by Julie Adkins. After Adkins graduated, club enrollment and activity fizzled until last spring when Cunningham and co-president Krystal Davis, senior in geography, initiated it again.
“We started meeting weekly and planning events,” Cunningham said. “We did Earth Day that year and did Move out Madness and raised like 800 bucks just selling people’s stuff that they threw in the garbage, and we went to Colorado for a sustainability conference.”
With 10 people in the group this semester, Cunningham says that they definitely do have an impact in the community, but they are lacking in publicity and their profile is pretty low.
“It’s not presented as, ‘Hey, we’re this club that does all this stuff.’ It’s definitely more in harmony with the university as a whole,” she said.
Jim Triplett, professor of biology and an adviser for the group, says the club is playing a major role in helping set up a good introduction of the campus’ sustainability efforts for incoming freshmen.
“We put together a program along with Brian Perry to give to Freshman Experience classes,” he said. “They are peer presentations. The Planetarians sign up to go give the sustainability presentation to Freshman Experience.”
Some activities coming up for the Planetarians include Earth Day on April 22 and a field trip to look at watersheds in the area on May 3. Move out Madness at the end of the semester, when students leave the dorms, is also a big event for the club. The Planetarians will also host Move in Mayhem at the beginning of the fall semester next year.
“Move in Mayhem is basically at the beginning of the semester when we go around and pick up all the cardboard after new students come into the dorms so that they can be recycled,” said Autumn Howe, junior in psychology. “It’s not just cardboard, it’s plastics, it’s anything that can be recycled. Dr. Triplett is really good at Dumpster diving.”
Last fall’s Move in Mayhem generated 3,600 pounds of cardboard that was recycled because of the Planetarian club’s efforts.
“I think that our generation and as college students, that we can make a difference in becoming more sustainable,” Howe said.
The Planetarian club meets at 4 p.m. Tuesdays in Russ Room 326.