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Hashtag Hit at Earth Day Event

At this year’s packed Earth Day celebration, 171 unique tweets flew from the campus as people posted about their commitment to sustainability using the hashtags #watersense and #earthday2017, helping to launch the new @UMassMedGreen Twitter feed.

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“It was a great start, and I hope other members of our extended community will follow us and continue to share their thoughts or important links about sustainability issues on Twitter,” said Suzanne Wood, LEED AP, sustainability and energy manager at UMass Chan.

Sustaining water resources was the theme of this year’s Earth Day campus celebration, held on April 20, so many of the tweets carried a water message, like “because my grandchildren need water too” or ‘because H2O = life”, while others were more general, like “because we only get one Earth”.

Extending the water resources theme, 250 succulent plants were given away to people who visited the UMass Chan Growing Green table and filled up their Earth Day card by visiting six other displays. “The plants were very popular and went fast,” Wood said. “We had Growing Green ID lanyards as a back-up prize, and I’d say we had more than 400 people who turned in their completed cards.”

The popular annual event drew a mix of local companies and organizations focused on sustainable products and practices. Displays included products from local farmers, food and craft vendors, electric/hybrid vehicles and energy efficiency products and services.

For the first time, the Earth Day event extended beyond the school’s lobbies this year, reaching up to the SWAP Shop in S3-209, where volunteers from the Grafton Job Corps gave out energy efficient LED desk lamps and smart power strips (provided by MassSave) to those who ventured upstairs to check out the successful reuse program at the shop. “We wanted to draw more attention to the SWAP Shop this year, so people who haven’t used it yet could see it for themselves,” Wood said.

Short for “Surplus With A Purpose” the SWAP Shop is open to students, faculty and staff to drop off surplus office supplies, small furniture, or laboratory equipment so others on campus can put the items to good use. (Home goods are not accepted.) In its first year of operation, more than 3,500 pounds of items, valued at over $40,000 was exchanged through the SWAP Shop.

“I want to thank the Grafton Jobs Corps, the UMass Chan Sustainability Committee and all of the volunteers from the campus who helped make Earth Day here another success,” Wood said.