The University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s 2019 Earthstock events have allowed students and community members to launch their sustainability education and shrink their ecological footprint.
The Association of Students at the University of Nebraska hosts Earthstock throughout April each year, with the slogan “4 weeks to learn and grow.” This year’s events have so far included a block party, a used clothing swap and a documentary showing with a panel afterward. A music and arts festival at The Bay will close out the festivities on Friday, April 26 from 8 p.m. to 11:30 p.m.
Earthstock co-director Kyle Cacciatore, a junior microbiology major, said the festival will have three local bands playing a variety of different music, as well as artwork created by local sustainable artists on display.
To listen to the music, attendees need to make a $5 donation which will go to Produce From the Heart, a Lincoln-based nonprofit that collects produce from farmers and redistributes it to those in need.
Cacciatore, a first-time member of the Earthstock team, said he wanted to make sure this year’s events were as inclusive as possible, since sustainability is something he said everyone should be a part of.
“There's no reason why environmentalism or sustainability has to exclude people or not benefit people,” he said. “I've tried to shift this year’s event to becoming more inclusive to include topics that everyone is interested in or everyone can get behind.”
Earthstock co-director Elizabeth Park, a sophomore environmental studies major, worked on Earthstock last year and said the team was smaller this year and started planning later than usual, so it had to rethink some things.
“We amped up and rethought our advertising through social media,” she said. “We also worked with Sustain [UNL] this year on an event, which helped broaden Earthstock and reach a wider audience.”
Two members of Sustain UNL, a recognized student organization, put on the Clothing Swap-o-Rama in the Nebraska Union Crib on April 18. Attendees could bring in clothes they didn’t want anymore and swap them out for other pieces. There was also a “fix-it Friday” station where people could drop clothes off for volunteers to mend them.
“So it was kind of an all-in-one stop thing, and it turned out really well,” Cacciatore said. “I was very impressed by that event. We definitely should have that next year.”
He said whatever wasn’t used at the event was donated and repurposed. He said repurposing clothing is a good way to fight against a wasteful fashion industry.
The following week, the team hosted a showing of “Wasted! The Story of Food Waste,” a documentary that “aims to change the way people buy, cook, recycle and eat food,” according to its website. Afterward, there was a panel where each panelist spoke about a different part of the food supply chain, from the farm to the table.
“It appeals to everyone because it deals with this idea of food waste,” Cacciatore said. “No matter who you are … you don't want to be wasting food because that’s just less money; it's just waste. It doesn’t benefit anyone.”
Cacciatore said Earthstock is a good way to celebrate Earth Day at UNL because it allows the campus and larger Lincoln communities to learn about and celebrate Earth.
“Environmental education isn't a required thing at the University of Nebraska,” he said. “Say what you will, I think it's an important part. And this event kind of provides that introduction to what sustainability and environmental stewardship can be.”