Volunteers work for environmental awareness

Service, sustainability and environmental awareness will be celebrated all week in honor of Earth Day.

The Center for Civic Engagement (CCE), Student Involvement, the ASWSU Environmental Sustainability Alliance and the WSU Environmental Science Club are working to host various events on campus each day to bring awareness to the environment, leadership and service.

The goal of big awareness weeks is to inspire people to get more involved, said Ashlie Grilz, student services specialist for the CCE.

“I think anytime you can create awareness weeks, it sets the stage for people to remember that week year after year,” Grilz said.

When students get excited about different issues, they are also reminded of the opportunities they have to get involved, she added.

“One of our missions is to get WSU students engaged in their communities,” Grilz said. “It’s a good reminder for students about opportunities available off campus.”

Jenna Bracken, vice president of the ASWSU Environmental Sustainability Alliance, and adventure facilitator at the WSU Outdoor Recreation Center, is hosting one of her own events as part of the ORC and ESA. Bracken will host a Leave No Trace awareness webinar.

“I will basically go through what Leave No Trace is,” Bracken said. “It’s basically reducing your impact as you go outdoors.”

There will also be an opportunity at the end of the webinar for viewers to get an official certification in Leave No Trace Awareness, Bracken said.

“The ASWSU Environmental Sustainability Alliance and the Environmental Science Club both strive to promote environmental and sustainable education,” Bracken said. “Most of the sustainability issues going on today are because people aren’t informed and don’t know all the facts.”

Other events happening throughout the week include an Earth Day Fair from 12-2 p.m. Tuesday on the Glenn Terrell Mall, an environmentally focused career forum from 5-7 p.m. Wednesday in CUE 202, and a public forum at noon Tuesday in the CUB Junior Ballroom, discussing water use and sustainability.

The discussion panel will feature Emily Hunter, a self-titled Eco-Warrior, who has been an environmental author and activist for over a decade. Hunter also has roots in environmental activism, with her father, Bobbi Hunter, being the first president of Greenpeace.

“The idea is that she’s taking activism to the next level,” Erin McIlraith, communication and marketing coordinator for the CCE, said.

McIlraith said the public forum will feature students and faculty members as well.

“It’s a pretty cool way to engage with people with different viewpoints,” McIlraith said.

The 2014 Leadership and Engagement Awards of Distinction (LEAD) will also take place at 5 p.m. Thursday in the CUB Senior Ballroom, hosted by the CCE. The awards include a gallery of leadership, featuring students who have won leadership awards or led service projects throughout the year, the presentation of the President’s awards, and the inauguration of the new ASWSU representatives.

“Civic Engagement Week is really about the CCE celebrating all of the amazing service that goes on in our community,” McIlraith said.

The event celebrates student leaders, Greek students and their large contribution of service hours, and the community partners who make these service opportunities possible, McIlraith said.

“It’s just kind of a neat thing I guess,” McIlraith said. “It’s heartwarming that students have made connections and made the community their own.”