Sustainability Week hopes to inspire UI

Monday kicks off the first Sustainability Week at the University. The week is composed of different speakers and activities every day, including a presentation by John Passacantando, former executive director of Greenpeace, a Common Ground Food Co-op cooking class, a guided walk through Boneyard Creek and more.

All 22 events are open to the public, with a raffle ticket given for each one attended. The week will end with a raffle drawing for the grand prize, a bicycle donated by the Campus Bike Project.

Thrown by Students for Environmental Concerns, a Registered Student Organization, the Office of Sustainability, Student Affairs and other campus organizations, the week focuses on five different themes: recycle, renew, conserve, eat locally and go green.

In years past, there was a “Live Green Week” around this time of year, but now it is dubbed “Sustainability Week.”

“This time, all of campus has gotten involved. Normally it’s SECS (Students for Environmental Concerns) and the Illini Union Board, and that’s about it,” said Suhail Barot, graduate student and SECS treasurer.

The increase in involvement has allowed for more to be accomplished than in past years, he said.

“It’s much more packed than anything that any one organization could have been able to put together by themselves,” Barot said. “It’s bigger than any Earth Week or Live Green Week that I’ve seen put together in the past few years.”

Eli Chen, student chair for Sustainability Week, Illini Media employee and junior in LAS, said she is excited by the amount of involvement by the University and the increased amount of events this year.

“Students should get involved because this is something you can’t really ignore,” Chen said. “Everything tells us that the world is getting a little bit worse.”

Environmentalism should be important to everyone, she added.

“This is a really great way to be a part of the community and get to know what everybody is doing to make the world a better place to live in,” Chen said.

Barot said he hopes Sustainability Week inspires students to adopt a passion for the environment.

“I think it’s really about students seeing this and getting involved and doing everything that they can,” he said.

Jasmine Lee, junior in LAS, said she is excited to attend these events because she thinks they will be both fun and interesting, adding that she hopes she will be the winner of the bicycle.