The Fresno State Sustainability Club celebrated Earth Day on April 20 with other local community organizations to share resources and raise awareness about environmental issues.
Campus Earth Day is a yearly event held on campus, but the pandemic forced the Sustainability Club to participate virtually last year, according to club secretary Manyu Amarasinghe, a junior majoring in biology and minoring in public health.
“We had to take a momentary pause… but we still held virtual talks and guest speakers, and did our best to accommodate. That is why we were so excited to finally return to an in-person event this year,” said fourth-year biochemistry major and Sustainability Club president Devon Lee.
This year, the celebration was held at the Memorial Gardens in front of the Kennel Bookstore and informed students about sustainability work from groups like the Central California Environmental Justice Network, Mid Valley Disposal and the Central Utility Plant Replacement (CUPR) (P3) Project.
Years of participating in events like Campus Earth Day connected the Sustainability Club with other local climate and sustainability groups, but this year the club tried to expand its reach.
“This year, we also tried to use this event as an opportunity to forge new connections with other organizations, so we also extended the invitation out to organizations we had never collaborated with before,” Amarasinghe said. “We also use this event as an opportunity to interact with the student body and gain their perspectives on sustainability.”
Close to 200 students stopped by to speak with representatives from different organizations throughout the event, according to Amarasinghe.
Organizations at the event used games like trivia to connect with students while also raising awareness. Mid Valley Disposal gave out prizes to attendees who successfully answered questions using recycling guides.
Lee and other Sustainability Club members asked attendees who visited their table to differentiate between identical cups of water, one from a bottle filling station and one store bought, to raise awareness regarding water conservation.
“Sometimes we feel Fresno unfairly gets a reputation as not being as involved as it should be in regards to sustainability and activism and organizing, so we wanted to dispel this myth and elevate the voices and platforms of those actively working to improve our community and the lives of the residents here,” Lee said.
Other organizations focused on upcoming events and programs. The CUPR project advertised BIG’s Green Opportunity programs available to Fresno State students, including annual scholarships where students can work directly with eco-friendly and energy-efficient organizations. More information can be found at fresnostate.edu/cupr.
Students interested in getting involved can attend the next club meeting, which will be held on Thursday, April 28 in Science II, Room 125 from 6 to 7 p.m.
Mayor Jerry Dyer’s Beautify Fresno initiative will also be teaming up with the Highway City Community Development Corporation to host a 2022 Great American cleanup event on April 30 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Volunteers will meet at the Highway City CDC parking lot at 4718 N. Polk Ave. at 9:30 a.m. to sign in and attend orientation.
Students interested in attending future events with the club can connect with members through Instagram or contact a representative via email at firstname.lastname@example.org to be put on a mailing list.