By Kristina Michel
The University of Houston will honor Mother Earth with a week full of activities dedicated to sustainability, environmental education and community.
Earth Week will take place April 15-23. Sponsored by the Office of Sustainability, the Metropolitan Volunteer Program, UH Energy and Student Housing and Residential Life, the week will feature a wide variety of on- and off-campus activities and events, including volunteer events, a documentary screening, a sustainability meetup and a new Earth Day rotational program in the residence halls. A complete schedule of events is available on the Office of Sustainability’s Earth Week website at uh.edu/earthweek.
“Last year, the Office of Sustainability hosted the first-ever UH Earth Week, and this year’s focus is on establishing partnerships and making the week-long program a true university collaboration,” said Sarah Kelly, sustainability manager for the UH Office of Sustainability. “The motivation behind Earth Week is for the organizers and partners to showcase their best sustainability work, foster dialogue around issues and get students involved in sustainability on campus.”
The week begins with a weekend backpacking trip to Sam Houston National Forest April 15-17 sponsored by UH Outdoor Adventure. UH will also participate as the sustainability zone leader in the 11th annual Earth Day Houston celebration April 16 at Sam Houston Park in downtown Houston. The event will feature more than 100 booths and exhibits educating visitors on how they can make Houston a greener place to live.
Earth Week activities on campus will begin with the Earth Week Kickoff celebration from 2 to 4 p.m. April 18 at Butler Plaza. Visitors can engage and connect with exhibitors to learn more about sustainability initiatives on campus and in the Greater Houston area.
The week continues with MVP Service Night April 18 in the Student Center South Skyline Room and an outdoor screening of the documentary film “Flow” April 20 at Lynn Eusan Park. The award-winning documentary, directed by Irena Salina, investigates the rapidly building global water crisis and the privatization of the world’s dwindling fresh water supply. The Office of Sustainability will also host a sustainability meetup April 21.
Student Housing and Residential Life will host its first-ever Walk Down Sustainability Lane event from 3 to 6 p.m. April 22. Students can visit each of the residence halls on campus for Earth Day-related activities and win prizes.
The week will close with the planting of Shasta’s Prairie, UH’s first-ever on-campus pocket prairie, from 9 a.m. to noon April 23 in the Urban Forest west of Science and Research Building 2. The event is sponsored by the Office of Sustainability, Katy Prairie Conservancy, UH Coastal Center and Facilities Services. The pocket prairie will give visitors to campus a glimpse of the coastal tallgrass prairie that thrives at the UH Coastal Center and will also serve as a living lab for student researchers on campus.
UH is participating in a fundraiser, Grassroots for Change, to raise money for Shasta’s Prairie. Students, faculty, staff, alumni and University supporters can make donations until April 23 at www.crowdrise.com/grassrootsforchange.
To learn more about Earth Week and sustainability initiatives on campus, visit the Office of Sustainability website at www.uh.edu/sustainability.