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More than 1,000 people from all corners of the University Campus streamed through the Earth Day celebration on April 22, where more than 50 local organizations and campus departments offered a full spectrum of products, services and information to help the community grow a little greener.
“It was a fantastic event, and I want to thank everyone who worked so hard to make it a success,” said Melissa Lucas, sustainability and energy manager at UMMS. “I heard many positive comments from the campus community. People said they learned something new that they could apply at home, or at work, to reduce their carbon foot print. That’s what we’re after.”
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Among the varied displays in the Medical School’s lobbies and faculty conference room was a demonstration of the pedal-powered Nuru Light system, and booths offering tips on how to recycle everything from newspapers to laptop computers. The Loving Hut (formerly The Buddha Hut) restaurant of Worcester served up hundreds of plates of vegan food, while honey from the Worcester County Beekeepers Association appealed to those with a sweet tooth.
Outside the school’s main entrance, Sassan Abdulla-Zadeh, director of radiation safety, was one of the dozens of people who test-rode a Pietzo electric bicycle. “It was so easy going up the hill,” he said after alighting from the bike. Inside, Sweetwilliam Farm of Upton took orders for their community supported agriculture (CSA) program. Cynthia Gosslin and Susan Carrigan, both RNs who work at University Campus, signed up to share a CSA membership. They’ll get a box of organically-grown vegetables delivered to campus each week this summer. “It’s good to see local vendors that have eco-friendly products,” Carrigan said.
Nearby, Madeline Karcasinas, who works in the medical center’s pharmacy, had just bought a jar of honey when she said, “I came down because I’m into recycling and wanted to see about composting bins. Then I saw the beekeeper’s association, and they have the best honey.” Her pharmacy co-worker, Lorie Gull, learned that there are Greater Worcester Land Trust trails right near her house. “I drive by the sign for it all the time, but didn’t really know about them,” she said.
Other displays included clothing made from organically-grown materials, environmentally-friendly health and beauty products, outdoor recreation opportunities and local conservation efforts. Attendees had the opportunity to sign-up for carpooling with MassRIDES, learn about home energy audits or buy custom art made from recycled materials. Among the many give-a-ways was an opportunity to plant a tree in one of 17 countries, offered by the school’s environmental health and safety department.
Rebecca Chlapowski, from UMMS auxiliary services who has helped coordinate the event for several years, said the Earth Day 2010 celebration was the biggest on campus so far. “Our motto is to ‘become part of the solution,’ and that’s the feeling I had all day long,” Chlapowski said. “I think people were engaged and interested in all the displays and the information available. It seemed to me that people really took things to heart.”
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