CWU organizations support sustainability for Earth Month – The Observer
As part of Earth Month 2022, the CWU offered a wide variety of activities around campus celebrating the importance of protecting the Earth and minimizing the environmental footprint.
Kathleen Klaniecki, CWU’s sustainability coordinator, said that in the past, Earth Day has focused on a week of activities celebrating the earth. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many activities over the past two years have had to be held virtually.
This year, the CWU was able to host a selection of in-person activities, including events such as Saturday work nights at Wildcat Farm facilitated by Student Leadership, Community Involvement and Engagement (SLICE) and the annual cleanup of the Yakima River.
“The success of Earth Month is that there are so many stakeholders involved such as SLICE, Wildcat Neighborhood Farm, Wellness Center, Outdoor Recreation and Rentals (OPR) , among others,” Klaniecki said.
Klaniecki said attendance varied from event to event. Some events have been designed to foster deeper conversations among students, while other activities, such as the Environmental Club featuring a Lorax exhibit, are geared more toward a fun social event.
Klaniecki pointed out that the success of Earth Month can be attributed to a wide range of partnerships and collaborations between different clubs and organizations on campus.
Clothing design and merchandising professor Andrea Eklund sees social responsibility as a key initiative to educate students about environmental impacts. The Textiles and Design program takes a holistic approach to understanding and teaching sustainability.
“We address sustainability and how it relates to this area in the apparel industry within each class,” Eklund said. “It’s actually best to embed it in every class and keep sustainability front and center in this subject, so that students understand the importance of each phase and all parts of the apparel industry.”
Eklund said everyone can be aware and aware of what they are buying, even if they are not interested in fashion.
Another key aspect highlighted by Eklund is understanding which brands support environmental sustainability: understanding the life cycle of clothing, design quality, washing and drying.
One of the ways the fashion department has supported Earth Month is by offering several “Fix Mondays” where students can bring in clothes and fashion students can help fix the clothes. The fashion department also supported the “Make Your Own Beeswax” event.
“Rather than using cellophane, you take fabric and cover it with beeswax, and you can reuse it over and over instead of using single-use cellophane,” Eklund said.
Eklund said small impacts such as reducing the frequency and amount of fabric softener use, washing clothes cold, or waiting to wash clothes until they look dirty can have a significant environmental impact.
College students are more aware than other demographics in terms of understanding their carbon footprint, according to Eklund.
“In the United States, we wear out our clothes by over-washing and drying them. As you throw things in the dryer and clean out that lint trap, your fabric gets thinner and thinner,” Ekland said. “You spilled on it?” Does it smell? No, so hang it up and let it air out for a day and wear it again.
Eklund encouraged students to think more holistically about the clothes they buy and the overall life cycle of their clothes.
” What are you buying ? How often do you buy it? What is the brand? How do you take care of it? And when you’re done, what do you do with it? said Eklund.
Students can find information about the various Earth Month activities by viewing the various posters shared around campus. Klaniecki also encouraged students to follow @cwuslice, @cwuwellness and @cwurecreation to keep up to date with happenings on campus.