The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

The independent student newspaper at the University of Illinois since 1871

The Daily Illini

Sustainapalooza encourages environmental awareness on Earth Day

Alyssa Shih
Students in the University of Illinois chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architecture display plants beneficial to migrating butterflies during Sustainapalooza on Monday, April 22.

First celebrated in 1970, Earth Day began as a way to raise awareness about environmental issues. Today, over 50 years since the tradition started, Earth Day celebrations and sustainability events have continued strong as concerns around the climate persist. 

On Monday, the Student Sustainability Leadership Council and Students for Environmental Concerns partnered with RSOs, University organizations and community vendors to bring Sustainapalooza to the Main Quad. This year’s event is a revamped version of “Green Quad Day,” which is held once every semester. 

Danika Ford, president of SECS, co-president of the SSLC and senior in ACES, helped plan Sustainapalooza.

“This year, for the spring ‘Green Quad Day,’ we wanted to elevate it a bit, so we kinda just thought it would be cool to rebrand the whole spring semester ‘Green Quad Day’ and have it as a bigger event for Earth Day,” Ford said.

Live music by Emily Dziengel, Bum Rush, Mango Pods and the Steel Drum Band played throughout the afternoon, as event-goers visited booths from RSOs and other campus organizations promoting sustainable living or environmental protection.

Get The Daily Illini in your inbox!

  • Catch the latest on University of Illinois news, sports, and more. Delivered every weekday.
  • Stay up to date on all things Illini sports. Delivered every Monday.
This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.
Thank you for subscribing!

“We’re really trying to foster collaboration between environmental clubs and create more of a culture of sustainability,” Ford said. “I think that the goal with this event is getting people out on the quad and getting people to talk about their sustainability efforts and the things that they do to help better the environment on and off campus.”

Sustainapalooza featured a sustainable art show, a plant sale, a free clothing swap, food vendors and various local craft vendors selling soaps, jewelry and more. Some of the vendors present were also regular booth holders at the farmers’ market in Urbana. 

“I’m really excited about the craft vendors coming out because I feel like a lot of students don’t get to go to the Urbana farmers’ market because it’s pretty far away,” Ford said. “I’m really excited to help bridge that gap between the local community and the campus community.”

Among the many RSOs set up around the quad were the Illini Wildlife and Conservation Club, Beekeeping Club and Outdoor Adventure Club. RSOs sold food and crafts to raise money and used posters and speakers to educate event-goers. 

“I think having an event this size is a good way to get people to see things that maybe they haven’t considered,” said Sophia Sampson, Sustainapalooza attendee and sophomore in LAS. “I think that there are definitely some tips and tricks that I can pick up from going around here and I’ll be sure to incorporate them in my own life.”

The University section of the American Nuclear Society had a booth set up to educate people on why nuclear energy is sustainable and reduce its negative stigma. ANS members, including Engineering senior Jake Mitstifer, dressed up as bananas as a fun way to share their message, since bananas are a source of natural radiation

“(Nuclear energy) doesn’t produce any carbon dioxide and we want to dispel any myths,” Mitstifer said. “There’s something called the banana equivalent dose, and it’s a good way to compare how much radiation you’ll receive from other sources compared to a banana. If you live within 50 miles of a nuclear reactor, you receive less than a banana dose (of radiation) every year.”

Ford hopes the messages conveyed at Sustainapalooza also reach those outside of the environmental community on campus and encourage people to live more sustainably.

“It’s really important to be aware of sustainability efforts on campus, whether you’re in that circle or you’re not in that circle,” Ford said. “I think it’s definitely something that needs to be prioritized not only on our campus but just in the greater scheme of life.”


[email protected]

More to Discover
ILLordle: Play now