ECOPC Kicks Off Earth Week with Eaton Street Clean-up and Clean Plate Challenge

by Kaelin Ferland ’23 and Sarah McLaughlin ’23 on April 27, 2023


In the week leading up to their annual Earth Day celebration on Saturday, April 22, ECOPC hosted a variety of different events, including their Eaton Street Clean-up and Clean Plate Challenge. For the clean-up, the club recruited eight volunteers to pick up litter on the yards, driveways, and sidewalks along Eaton Street. Supplies such as trash bags and gloves were provided by The 02908 Club, who typically send out their own clean-up crew after weekend parties.

The volunteers spent about one hour picking up litter, primarily cans and bottles, staying away from the significant amount of broken glass that littered the street. They plan to host another clean-up with Bio Society, this time at a beach, to close out their Earth Week festivities.

One volunteer expressed her frustration with the blatant disrespect for the property and the community. “What was surprising to me was how it wasn’t just littering and single-use drinks, but it was also clearly deliberate destruction of property…like a TV, or the fact that people put bottles and cans right under people’s tires.” Many volunteers were similarly disgusted by the sheer amount of trash, especially the shattered TV they came across on the sidewalk and the trash going down the drains.

Another volunteer brought up the apparent lack of concern students have for cleaning up after themselves. “What was really disturbing to me was the parking lots between the houses. They were completely covered in cans, bottles, and other trash. There had to have been thousands that no one had the courtesy or care to pick up. I found it really striking, but I think it’s an unfortunate reflection of the culture at PC, and how we don’t value sustainability as much as we should.”

“My thoughts were more like, wow, people can’t walk their dogs here because of all the glass,” another volunteer said. “It’s not safe anymore because of their littering.” Another added, “It’s disrespectful to people who live and drive on the roads regularly that aren’t just seniors.”

Aside from the clean-up, ECOPC also held their second Clean Plate Challenge of the year in Raymond Dining Hall this Tuesday from 4–8 p.m., where they measured students’ leftovers before they were thrown away or composted. Approximately 162 pounds of food scraps were measured by the club during this short four hour period, about 2.5 times more waste than their last event in the fall. 

Through this challenge, ECOPC hopes to raise awareness about food waste, and how it’s easy for students to decrease their waste by taking smaller portions. However, many students expressed frustration towards the dining hall’s large portion sizes given at stations that are not self-serve. This is a concern that Sodexo is currently addressing with their staff.

In addition, on Thursday, ECOPC hosted a worms and dirt dessert table in Ray. They hope to see a large turnout at their Earth Day celebration this Saturday, as well as improve environmental awareness on campus through their events.

Making Earth Day Every Day

by Kaelin Ferland '23 on April 20, 2023
Opinion Staff

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Why We Need to Celebrate This Holiday Year-round

The 1960s was a critical decade for environmental policy in the United States, serving as the first time politicians began to recognize how humans play a large role in environmental destruction. Fortunately, this led to important policy changes and legislation to protect our planet. However, this relationship between human activity and ecological degradation was something already well-known among environmentalists prior to the 1960s. 

Environmentalists including Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson, and Gaylord Nelson were essential figures in the environmental movement. Carson’s Silent Spring is arguably one of the most influential texts of the movement. Published in 1962, it revealed the dangers of D.D.T. and pesticide use on both human and wildlife health, accusing chemical companies of hiding these dangerous side effects from the public. The publication resulted in the ban of D.D.T. across the country. With his Sand County Almanac published in 1949, Leopold introduced the term “land ethic” for the first time, an idea that humans need to coexist with nature, rather than continue to dominate and exploit it. This message is still prevalent today, as decades later, it seems as though we still have yet to adopt such a vision. 

In 1969, environmentalist and Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson proposed the idea for Earth Day, and in 1970, it was celebrated for the first time on April 22. Earth Day was a turning point for environmental awareness and advocacy in the U.S. The same year in 1970, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was formed, as well as the National Environmental Education Act and the Clean Air Act. In the next three years, the U.S. would also go on to establish the Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act. The first Earth Day was an environmental breakthrough, resulting in some of the most important environmental legislation we have to date. 

Still, just over 50 years later, it seems as though we have forgotten the importance of Earth Day and what it means as we continue to act in unsustainable ways that harm our planet. Every year, over one billion people in over 193 countries celebrate Earth Day. Imagine how much of an impact we could make if this many people treated every day like Earth Day.  

From what the March 2023 I.P.C.C. report explains, it’s clear that we need people advocating for environmental change year-round. According to the report, we have already caused our planet to warm an additional 1.1 degrees Celsius, dangerously nearing the 1.5 degrees Celsius scientists constantly warn is the tipping point. 

What happens if temperatures increase by 1.5 degrees Celsius? In terms of biodiversity, 14 percent of species could be threatened with extinction, and a loss of up to 90 percent of coral reefs is also expected. Additionally, 950 million people could start experiencing drought as well as extreme temperatures, with 45–58 days of the year likely to surpass 95 degrees Fahrenheit. Flooding is also expected to affect 24 percent more people with this increase. 

We need to change our habits every day of the year, not just on Earth Day. We cannot combat climate change and other environmental issues by reflecting on our lifestyles and advocating for the planet only one day a year. It’s our responsibility to not only make sustainable choices each day but to push for environmental policy that is crucial for mitigating climate change. If we want to live on a planet that is equitable, sustainable, just, and habitable, this is something we have to do all year. 

Close to Home: Friars Celebrate Earth Day

by The Cowl Editor on May 2, 2019


Students take part in Earth Day festivities by painting flower pots.

by Malena Aylwin ’22

News Staff

Earth Day is an annual holiday recognized internationally on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection and wildlife conservation. First celebrated in 1970, it now includes events coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network in more than 192 countries. 

In celebration of Earth Day, Providence College, along with WDOM 91.3 FM and PC Go Green held an Earth Day Carnival on Sunday, April 28 from 11-3 p.m. 

Thought the carnival was originally planned to be held on Slavin Lawn, but it was moved to Lower  Slavin due to the rain. 

The event and activities were organized by EcoPC, which consists of 12 EcoReps and their respective hall councils. 

There were as many as 22 tables, each with different activities and ideas all honoring Earth Day. Some of the featured activities included decorating clay pots and mason jars, reusable canvas bags, free koozies, lactose-free ice cream, Earth Day trivia to win a metal straw, and other fun activities. 

Kailey Humason ‘22, who  won a metal straw, said, “It was really nice to see what we can do as college students to help our planet. It can even be in little ways, such as using a metal straw for your coffee, that can have a big impact.”

There were various clubs present like Gaelic Society, Photo Club, Student Congress, American Marketing Association, as well as outside groups like Sunrise, National Grid, Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation, Waste Management, Like No Udder, and Glow Smoothie Cafe. Live music was provided by both an outside band and a PC student group. They also had free pizza, popcorn, and numerous giveaways. 

Fatima Velasquez ‘22 stated, “The Earth Day carnival was a complete success. They had a lot of fun games and prizes that revolved around the same theme: saving and being aware of our planet. This is an ongoing problem that in 10 to 15 years we will all have to face it and so will our kids, so I think everyone should be more serious and interested because, after all, it is our planet and our lives that are at stake.”

 Some students were more concerned than others regarding our planet’s status. 

Grace Crowley ‘22 said, “I feel like everyone should be more involved in these types of activities because it’s just so sad how our planet is dying in front of our very own eyes, and half of the people don’t seem to care enough.” 

Overall, around 300 students, staff, and families stopped by to participate in the activities and learn how to protect the planet.