Pitt State’s Students for Sustainability organized an Earth Day celebration that took place in the Oval Monday. The celebration was an Earth Day Expo, featuring student organizations and groups from the Pittsburg community.
The Earth Day Expo included various groups with informational handouts and posters to other activities like bicycles and a planting station. Erin Kruse, senior in sustainability, is president of Students for Sustainability and attended the expo to represent their club along with additional members.
“It’s a day of giving back, obviously to our Earth but also to our community,” Kruse said. “It’s definitely a day of recognition and awareness of the social and environmental impacts that we have on our planet.”
Students for Sustainability provided promotional materials along with information about various activities the club hosts, including “Move-Out Madness” and “Move-In Mayhem.”
“I think it’s a great day,” Kruse said. “It’s a great opportunity to do networking with not only the organizations that we have out here already but also our students on campus, let them know that organizations that are here are here and we’re present, we would love their involvement. Also, a good way to kind of give back to campus and give back to our environment.”
Other organizations present at the expo included Enactus, Veoride, Southeast Kansas Recycling, CDL Electric Company, Pitt State Recycling, and more. Tonya Pentola, physical plant maintenance supervisor, represented Pitt State Recycling at the expo. Pentola said Earth Day is a day to bring awareness to important topics like the environment.
“What does (Earth Day) mean to me?” Pentola said. “To me I think any awareness we can bring to our environment and how to take care of it better and to preserve it and help it stay intact for our kids and our grandkids is an important thing. So, to me, that’s what it means is a day to bring awareness to all these things. You know, I’d like people to stop and think about that and think about what it means to them, too.”
Earth Day is important to Pentola and she believes that others should also care about the day.
“I think it’s going to be increasingly important in their lives, if not immediately it will be in their future,” she said. “I think, I was raised that way a little bit and I think it’s kind of gotten away from that and I’d like to see it kind of go back to that, you know. People being aware of what’s around them and how it works and what we can do to preserve it and not destroy it. I think it’s important for them to come and at least learn about it.”
One way for students and others to help preserve the Earth is through recycling, which Pentola said PSU students do a good job of.
“As for Pitt State recycling, we do really well and students are really great, so everybody does a phenomenal job,” she said. “So, I like it and it’s really growing, so thank you everybody.”
Kruse described Students for Sustainability as “informal,” but that they also have different activities and events the group participates in throughout the year.
“… We do a lot of like club activities; we’ll go pick up trash, but we’re also planning on having activities just to kind of hang out outside and do recreation things,” Kruse said. “We also have some events that are pretty integral to the organization. So we have an event the end of every spring called Move-Out Madness … We use that as a big fundraiser event in August … and then we use that to help fund some of the other programs that we do around campus as well as go to like conferences and profession development events, things like that.”
Students interested in giving back to both campus and the environment are encouraged to join Students for Sustainability.
“So definitely in our club we’d always love to see more people, more faces,” Kruse said. “We have no capacity, so we welcome everyone. And I definitely would like to see this expo continue to grow every year during Earth Day and really get the rest of campus involved and other organizations involved as well.”
The Earth Day Expo is important to Kruse for many reasons, with bringing awareness to the environment at the top.
“This is the only planet that we have, so making sure that we’re aware of the choices we’re making and how that’s impacting the environment, I think it’s very imperative, not only for the for the environment itself but for our people, our community—they also are obviously going to be impacted by the choices we’ve been making as well,” Kruse said. “So it’s definitely a social issue and an environmental issue as well.”