Food for Thought: Local Food-Laden Earth Week Events Celebrate ‘Sustainable Society’

Earth Week at the University of Virginia, which begins Sunday, will include a variety of activities in a collaborative celebration of sustainability and environmental stewardship.

"Earth Week is a great opportunity for everyone at U.Va. and in Charlottesville to learn about what our community is doing, both locally and globally, to improve the environment and also learn ways to make our lives greener," said Nina Morris, sustainability outreach and engagement manager at Facilities Management.

The week’s events will include the annual “SustainaBanquet,” faculty presentations, student-produced film screenings and a zero-waste Spring Fest, organized by members of the Student Council Sustainability Committee, University Committee on Sustainability Events Task Force, and the newly formed Earth Week Committee.

Many of the University’s sustainability efforts will be on display April 22 at the Earth Day Expo, a free lunch-and-learn community event in the Newcomb Hall Ballroom with a theme of “Advancing a Sustainable Society.” The expo will open at 10 a.m. with exhibits by U.Va. sustainability partners and poster presentations from Global Sustainability Initiative students. U.Va. Dining will provide a complimentary, locally sourced lunch from 11:20 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. in the Newcomb Hall Gallery (reservations required).

The Earth Day Expo will feature five dynamic and respected speakers whose work presents solutions to local and global sustainability challenges. Karen McGlathery, associate vice president for research in sustainability and the environment and professor of environmental sciences, studies coastal resiliency and large-scale habitat restoration. Garrick Louis, an associate professor in the Department of Systems and Information Engineering, utilizes education and technology to advance developing communities. Anselmo Canfora, an associate professor in the School of Architecture, aims to assist in disaster relief through partnering with community-based organizations through the reCOVER program, which he directs. Dyanna Jaye, student sustainability promotions team leader at the U.Va. Office for Sustainability, engages students through community building and student organizing. Andrea Trimble, director of the Office for Sustainability, will share information on the forthcoming U.Va. Sustainability Plan.

Earth Week begins Sunday at 3 p.m. with an educational potluck at the Observatory Hill Community Garden, with all members of the University community invited to share in a meal and attend a container gardening workshop.

On Monday, from 6 to 8 p.m., a “SustainaSupper” in Thornton Hall, room D221 will bring together students, staff and community members for an information-sharing event featuring food. This event seeks to bridge the gap between Grounds and the city of Charlottesville, and offer students and Charlottesville residents an opportunity to collaborate.

The University community will come together for the second annual SustainaBanquet on April 21 – featuring a sustainable meal from U.Va. Dining – to celebrate outstanding students, faculty, clubs and courses in the area of sustainability. The event, which runs from 7 to 10 p.m. in the Newcomb Hall Ballroom, will honor sustainability leaders on Grounds, reflect on the accomplishments of the past year, and recognize people for their efforts. The event is free, but reservations are required. Attire is semi-formal.

After the April 22 Earth Day Expo, members of UBike, the University’s recently launched bike-sharing service, will gather outside of Newcomb Hall for an “critical mass ride.” Day passes will be available for those who are not already UBike members.

On April 23 at 6 p.m. in Wilson Hall, room 402, students in the Community Food Systems course will present short films featuring complex and interdependent issues facing community food systems, followed by a discussion of healthy and resilient systems.

On April 24, the University Program Council will present Spring Fest, its biggest annual event, on the Lawn from 6 to 8 p.m., featuring sustainability-related groups and activities such as a bike-powered smoothie machine, recycling games and more, all in a zero-waste environment.

“Earth Week at U.Va. is about connecting people to the resources and inspiration needed to create a sustainable U.Va. community," Morris said.

For a complete calendar of Earth Week activities, visit Earth Week 2015.

Media Contact

Matt Kelly

University News Associate Office of University Communications