Photo: Lauren Horsch
Drake Environmental Action League members handed out free reusable coffee mugs to students if they could answer one simple question: Why do you love the earth?
“I love the earth because it provides for me,” sophomore Tanaya Thomas said. “It is part of me.”
Sophomore Nora Sullivan, a Colorado native, loves the earth because of its natural beauty.
“Because of the trees, and I love the mountains,” Sullivan said. “If anything ever happens to the mountains, it will destroy me like the pine beetle infestation; that’s the worst.”
Along with coffee mugs, DEAL handed out pens made from recycled cardboard and handmade bookmarks decorated with old newspaper and environmental facts. These freebees were part of last Friday’s “Acts of Green Day,” the last of a week-long list of programs put on by DEAL for its annual Earth Week.
Every day was designed to promote various environmental causes while also providing students with information on how to help preserve Mother Earth.
Monday was “Save the Prairie Day,” where DEAL members offered “free prairie tours” and handed out flowers grown in Drake’s own prairie. Signs listing environmental benefits of native grasses and an in-depth study conducted by two Drake students in the prairie last year were displayed for people to learn more about this unique aspect of Drake’s campus.
Last Tuesday, five vendors came to campus and set-up their own miniature Drake farmers market. Uncle Wendell’s BBQ, Grandma’s Fudge, The Kabob House, Iowa Coffee Company and Terra Natural Designs sold sandwiches, jewelry, coffee and other treats to students on their way to class.
The farmers market was meant to encourage students to buy local products. DEAL co-President Danielle Hefferan said that buying local can have multiple benefits.
“If you’re buying produce, it will more likely be fresh while also reducing your carbon footprint,” Hefferan said. “It helps stimulate your local economy, builds community and it’s really fun networking. I just love talking to Tom the coffee guy.”
On Wednesday, DEAL brought in a rock wall to promote outdoor activities for “Active Outdoors Day” of the week. Students were encouraged to climb the wall and play with a giant “Earth ball,” where they could legitimately get a picture of themselves “on top of the world.” DEAL members also handed out local trail guides and information about the Moving Planet Des Moines Bike Rally, a global effort to promote alternative travel options that took place last Saturday.
Thursday was “Conservation Day,” where cookies baked in a solar oven were sold and a representative from the nature conservancy came to hand out information and raised awareness for the Iowa chapter. Students could also interact with President David Maxwell’s dog, which made an appearance and played a few rounds of fetch.
Earth Week is a fun, interactive way for students to learn something about environmental action and take a little time to stop and enjoy what our world has to offer. “I just hope students take something away from (Earth Week),” Hefferan said. “Even by simply thinking twice before throwing away a plastic bottle or supporting local businesses.”