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Students Lead Earth Week Celebrations On The Island

Loomis Chaffee celebrated Earth Week April 9–15 with a program of activities and events planned and organized by students in the school's Environmental Sustainability programs with support from the Alvord Center for Global & Environmental Studies.

Student leaders included seniors Alexa Kim, Rosie Park, Mark Valadez, and Zeno Schwebel; juniors Julianna Lee, Becca Mucheru, and Marahyah Richardson; and sophomores Freya Rich and Lilith Yu.

The week-long celebration kicked off on Monday, April 9, with convocation speaker Paula Kuhumbu, wildlife conservationist and activist from Kenya, who spoke about the need to protect elephants and the world's megafauna and preserve our global heritage. Connect to the story about the convocation.

At an Earth Week community dialogue on Tuesday, April 10, organized by the Norton Family Center for the Common Good, students in the LC Debate Society argued both sides of the question: Should corporations be subsidized for using renewable energy sources or taxed for carbon emissions as the most effective and financially viable way to reduce the United States' carbon footprint? Senior Bill Pieroni, junior Jocelyn Chen, sophomore Maral Asik, and freshman Aidan Gillies presented their research on the issue and took a stance on either side of the issue in a debate-style presentation. The audience then asked questions of the debaters and each other on the topic.

As part of their Earth Week unit, students in Freshman Seminars planted rye grasses in pots in the Greenhouse, and then decorated them for a contest organized by student leaders in the Agriculture Program. (Reminder to students — send a photo of your planter to Alexa Kim to be included in the contest.)

On Friday, April 13, Mountainfilm On Tour presented a collection of high-action, stunningly beautiful, environmentally-focused documentaries from the annual Mountainfilm Festival held in Telluride, Colorado. The Earth Week film festival was sponsored by the Alvord Center.

During lunch periods all week, student leaders sold succulent plants and Earth Week T-shirts, with the proceeds going to support sustainability initiatives on campus.

The week of activities concluded on Sunday, April 15, with an open invitation to the community to participate in the Boomerang Bag Project making re-usable shopping bags from recycled materials. Learn more about the student-led Boomerang Bag project.

"The students took the lead this year with Earth Week and did a fantastic job ... shedding light on the importance of sustainability in our everyday lives," said Gratia Lee, director of Sustainable Agriculture at Loomis.

Jeff Dyreson, associate director of the Alvord Center, also praised the student leaders' efforts. Both Jeff and Gratia encourage interested students to apply for leadership roles in the school's Environmental Sustainability Program as e-proctors and ag-proctors next year. Information and applications are available in the Daily Bulletin.