Earth Week at UVA to Focus on Building Bridges

Earth Week will celebrate the links between sustainability and community at the University of Virginia. (Photo by Sanjay Suchak, University Communications)

Earth Week celebrations at the University of Virginia, from April 15 to April 22, will echo the pursuits of the University’s President Jim Ryan, from its central theme of community-building to running along the road picking up trash.

“Building Bridges” is the theme of the Earth Week Expo, to be held Tuesday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m in Newcomb Hall Ballroom. The expo will include interactive displays, hands-on activities, prizes and refreshments.

“UVA organizations and the community groups with whom they work will be paired up to share inspiring and creative examples of collaboration – all in service of our shared planet,” said Nina Morris, sustainability outreach and engagement manager for UVA’s Division of Facilities Management.

On April 19, Ryan will lead a “Plogging with the President” run from 7 to 8 a.m., starting and ending at Madison Hall. The runners will partake in the Swedish “plogging” craze, in which runners also pick up litter along their route.

“People get to come with President Ryan for about a two-mile run, get some exercise and help clean up our community to keep litter out of our environment,” Morris said. “We are going to have groups for advanced runners, beginners and walkers.”

The running route will take the participants through the neighborhood north of Madison Hall, between Rugby Road, Grady Avenue and 14th Street Northwest. Plogging with the President is sponsored by UVA Sustainability and UVA Class of 2021.

Among the other events planned for the week:

• University Transit Service and Student Council are offering an opportunity to decorate a UTS bus in Earth Week themes Monday from 10 a.m. to noon on the Clark Hall Plaza.

• Peace Corps volunteers who are working with small-scale farmers and families will speak Monday at 11 a.m. on increasing food security and production and adapting to climate change while promoting environmental conservation in room 101 of Hotel A.

• Also Monday, Kate Newman, vice president of forests and public sector initiatives, and Megan McDaniels, program associate for resilient coastal ecosystems, both UVA alumnae working at the World Wildlife Fund, will discuss conservation careers and fieldwork from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Rotunda Multipurpose Room.

• Wednesday will bring a farmer’s market and culinary competition, to be held from noon to 4 p.m. at the McIntire Amphitheater. Attendees will be able to purchase products from local farmers; the Chef Culinary Challenge will take place on amphitheater stage during the event. Teams from UVA Dining, the Boar’s Head Inn and the Abbott Center Dining Room at the UVA Inn at Darden will compete for the best two-course menu, using locally sourced ingredients from Local Food Hub.

• Also on Wednesday, the Darden School of Business’ Energy Club will host a panel discussion facilitated by professor Mike Lenox, author of 2018’s “Can Business Save the Earth? Innovating Our Way to Sustainability.” Renewable energy experts will discuss how the private sector is helping move away from fossil fuels and toward decarbonizing the economy. This discussion will be held from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. in Darden’s classroom 50.

• Also Wednesday, UVA’s Contemplative Sciences Center and Wildrock, a nature play and discovery center in the Blue Ridge foothills of Albemarle County, will host a discussion of nature and the UVA community in the garden of Pavilion I from 2 to 4 p.m. Activities will include nature drawing and writing, guided nature wanderings, chats about natural places on Grounds, and information on the physical, mental and social benefits of regular time spent in nature.

• On April 18, increasing diversity in the sustainability industry will be the topic of a lunchtime panel discussion in the Great Hall inside Garrett Hall, from noon to 2 p.m. The event is free, but due to limited space, attendees must register in advance.

• On April 19, “pop-up composting” will accompany the regularly scheduled food trucks at the McIntire Amphitheater from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• Also April 19, cyclists will gather for a sustainability social ride from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., beginning at Peloton Station, 114 10th St NW.

• Attendees at the April 19 “green baseball game” at Davenport Field at Disharoon Park, pitting the Cavaliers against Florida State, will try to divert more than 90 percent of their waste from landfills, employing composting and recycling.

• On April 20, the Outdoors Club at UVA will lead a host of activities at Walnut Creek Park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., with shuttle buses from Grounds to the park.

• On April 21, the Contemplative Sciences Center will host yoga sessions in the Pavilion I garden at 3 p.m., with refreshments to follow.

• On April 22, stories of sustainability will be the focus of a fundraising dinner from 6 to 8 p.m. on the west terrace of the Observatory Hill Dining Hall. Admission is free, but donations will be suggested to raise funds for sustainability causes.

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Media Contact

Matt Kelly

University News Associate Office of University Communications