Campus organizations host Earthfest to reflect on sustainable strides


Maddie Barron

Attendees painting pots.

Emersonians celebrated a year’s worth of sustainability strides and reflected on further increasing climate awareness at the 2022-23 Earthfest on Saturday, an event featuring games and activities promoting environmentally friendly practices. 

Organized by Emerson Green Collective and Emerson Sustainability, the event was held in the Walker Building Loft and featured live music performances from Boston-based singer Chrysalis and Emerson’s Noteworthy. Students were able to enjoy vegetarian hors d’oeuvres and paint plant pots. 

Emerson’s Health and Wellness Center representatives encouraged students to spin a wheel to answer sustainability and wellness-related trivia and win prizes like seeds, pens, and stress balls. 

Ava Tribe, president of Emerson Green Collective and sophomore political communications major, said Earthfest was an event to reflect on the organization’s accomplishments throughout the academic year. 

“It’s time to celebrate the work we’ve done,” she said in an interview. “It’s important to let people know we’re here and we’re making strides in sustainability.” 

Tribe also started working as an eco-ambassador for Emerson Sustainability this year, she said. She has led several community cleanup events and sustainability initiatives to achieve carbon neutrality on campus by 2023. 

Green Mag, Emerson’s sustainable magazine, debuted the latest edition at the event. The magazine is printed on recycled soy paper materials and is themed around the environment. 

This edition was particularly emotional, according to co-editors-in-chief Gabel Strickland, a junior journalism major, and Alex Lange, a sophomore political communications major. 

“The theme is ‘Growing Pains’ which is about what it’s like growing up in the midst of a climate crisis,” Strickland said. “A lot of the pieces are really educational … but they’re emotional too. [The pieces] are really evocative.”

Emerson Independent Video premiered a thirty-minute documentary about Emerson’s sustainability, called Unearthing Emerson. The production aimed to raise awareness about unsustainable behaviors common at Emerson. 

Several students were featured, providing insight into what they’ve learned from research and interviews with Emerson Sustainability faculty. 

“If one thing that isn’t compostable gets into the compost bin, then that bin is totally void,” said first-year media studies student Riley Miles in the documentary. 

Refleece, an eco-friendly Massachusetts-based brand promoting sustainable living, hosted a table at the event. Sam Palmer, founder of the company, had clothing and accessories displayed, along with the tools and patterns used to create the pieces. 

Refleece takes used fabric from worn-down winter gear, coats, and other sturdy fabrics to create brand-new, sustainable pieces, according to Olivia Peltz, a representative of Refleece. 

“We’re saving the planet and making cute fashion at the same time,” Peltz said.

Attendee sophomore journalism student Leila Minkara said Emerson’s initiatives do not go unnoticed, but it’s time for students to have the same sustainability goals. 

“I can tell that [Emerson] has been trying to enhance their sustainability, but at the same time … it’s not really at the forefront of a lot of people’s minds,” Minkara said. “The students themselves have to take initiative in terms of sustainability, but the institution itself has done a good job.”

Another attendee, junior journalism major Cari Hurley, said she knew very little about how successful Emerson has been at sustainability. Still, she hopes people read the magazine and watch the documentary to learn. 

“I’m glad that [sustainability] is a conversation that seems to be constantly happening,” Hurley said.

Gabel Strickland previously contributed to the Beacon but was not involved in the writing or editing of this story.