Student Sustainability Committee celebrates Earth Day

An+aerial+photo+of+the+Japan+House+at+the+University+of+Illinois+at+Urbana-Champaign+is+taken+from+a+drone+on+May+25.+The+University%E2%80%99s+Student+Sustainability+Committee+hosted+an+event+to+educate+students+on+sustainability+to+celebrate+Earth+Day.

Kenyon Edmond

An aerial photo of the Japan House at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is taken from a drone on May 25. The University’s Student Sustainability Committee hosted an event to educate students on sustainability to celebrate Earth Day.

By Neshmia Malik and Ethan Simmons

On April 22, Earth Day was celebrated around the world and on campus. The University’s Student Sustainability Committee hosted an event to teach the campus community about different sustainability initiatives happening on campus. 

Students joined together on the Main Quad to take part in environmental activism while also shining a light on other injustices taking place in the world.

“It’s important to actively include these populations instead of making it a white majority narrative when it comes to climate change,” said Afifa Chaudhry, senior in LAS and sustainability advocate. “It’s important to include indigenous leaders because they often know the land best, and this is the case in America and the North Americas.”

Students made posters protesting pipelines and their impacts on the environment, especially one known as Line 3. This proposed pipeline expansion will bring nearly one million barrels of tar sands per day from Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin. 

The line would not only contribute to climate change but would infringe on the property rights of the Anishinaabe people, an Indigenous group that resides in parts of the United States and Canada, according to StopLine3, an organization dedicated to trying to stop the line’s construction.

The SSC receives funds from the University and student fees to have events that raise awareness about issues like climate change. 

Overall, the SSC allocates over one million dollars annually towards projects that aim to increase sustainability and environmental awareness in the campus community.

Emily Loew, community outreach specialist for the Student Sustainability Committee, said the organization wants to continue to contribute to the conversation of ending climate change so that future generations are not a part of the issue. 

“Going to elementary schools and high schools in the fall and creating workshops for younger students are some examples,” Loew said.

“A few of the outreach members were talking that it isn’t a very prevalent topic discussed in elementary and high school, especially elementary school,” she said. “We want to create some workshops for younger students to make them aware at a young age of our leadership.”

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