This past Earth Day, April 22nd, the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives hosted the college’s second annual EarthFest. EarthFest was conceived as a space for community-wide discussion about sustainability. In a world increasingly shaped by a changing climate, we believe resilience will be important in how we move forward. Williams College has been a dominant force in the Northern Berkshires that owes much of its success to the community that continues to support it. In pursuit of a sustainable future, the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives hosted this event to continue to build stronger, more genuine connections between the college and its surrounding communities.
We had the pleasure of being joined by several on-campus student organizations and community organizations from beyond campus for the event on Paresky Lawn. Each group had a table where they discussed how they contribute to a more sustainable life on Earth and in their communities. On-campus organizations such as the Purple Bike Coalition advocated the benefits of bike riding and also brought a tandem bike for event-goers to enjoy. Hopkins Forest student educators brought salamanders for children and adults alike to hold and observe. Campus organizations also brought environmentally-themed zines, seed bombs, information on environmentally-conscious careers, and mini-mending kits to display many of the ways one can get involved with sustainability and environmental justice.
From off-campus, Williamstown Rural Lands came to the quad to tell people about their education programming and trails. They also facilitated a native plant-identifying activity. The ABC Clothing Shop joined us for the second year in a row to talk about the role of thrifting and consignment shopping in having a healthier planet. The Sustainable Eats Food Truck offered discounted smoothies, sandwiches, and macaroni & cheese. And to top it off, the St. John’s community brought their dogs for everyone to enjoy!
We are grateful for the ~400 people came out to celebrate and learn about our planet on such a windy Saturday. From a clothing swap to free Ben & Jerry’s sponsored by OCL, there were activities that people of all ages and experiences were able to enjoy. Thank you to all of the students and community members who made this event possible. Special thanks to Christine Seibert, Kaon Suh, and Diliara Sadykova for helping make this event a reality. And special thanks to the Office of Campus Life and the Zilkha Center for their financial support.
Micaela Foreman ’23 is a 22-23 academic year Community Engagement intern with the Zilkha Center for Environmental Initiatives at Williams College.