This is the time of year me and my sustainability colleagues both anticipate and dread.
We are excited to see the growing interest in preserving our home for current and future generations. At the same time, in addition to our regular overloaded plates, we are overwhelmed with opportunities to talk, teach, plant trees, answer every Earth Day related question, and speak on behalf of the planet. It is a role I take seriously, and I know my colleagues do as well.
Coming up is a series of events to celebrate, educate, and engage our communities in caring for one another, our business, political, and educational communities, and caring for the environment. At the Center, we are looking forward to hosting our friends, partners, and supporters to celebrate with us at our annual Earth Day Reception & Award Ceremony. If you have attended an event, a class, or are simply interested in what is happening with sustainability in South Bend – join us! It takes place Thursday, April 18, from 5:30-7:30pm in the University Grill on the IUSB campus. We will be sharing accomplishments, outlining plans, and giving out awards to campus and community sustainability champions. Plus, we will have locally sourced and expertly crafted refreshments and project displays to stimulate your body and mind.
Before the Reception, Bee Art will be on display in the Fine Arts Building. People’s choice award votes will be gathered, and in addition to our judge’s selection, the Bee Art winner will be recognized at the Reception. You could even invest in some Bee Art and take it home with you!
On Friday, April 19 from 10am-2pm we are co-hosting the annual Earth Day Service Day event with the IU South Bend Honors Program and the Honors Program at Southwestern Michigan College. Teams of volunteers will be doing tree plantings, invasive species removal, volunteering at the Potawatomi Zoo, and working in the campus Unity Garden. In addition to the work, there will be some education and some food (2 zero waste meals are planned!). Join us for the fun, which begins at the Joshi Performance Hall, which is located in IUSB’s Northside Hall.
The following week, we are collaborating with the Japanese Club to host a Cherry Blossom Picnic on April 23 that will both highlight the cherry blossoms and the bees that pollinate them. Japanese treats with honey will be shared and visits to the blossoms to see the busy bees will be key elements of the day.
Leading up to all this fun is South Bend Green Drinks on Tuesday, April 16. I will be providing the “conversation starter” and local candidates will be present to mix and mingle and talk about all things green with those in attendance. Among the attendees will be graduate students from our program, who will be chatting up their locally-based research in sustainable food systems. The event begins at 5:30pm at The Exchange Whiskey bar on Jefferson Blvd in downtown South Bend.
There is no reason to be bored this time of year! Celebrate spring, try implementing a new sustainable habit, and be sure to support yourself and others.