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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Activities & Organizations

Campus prepares for Earth Day festivities

U.S. Senator Edmund Muskie, author of the Clean Air Act of 1970, was the keynote speaker for the 50,000-plus crowd at the first Earth Week celebration in Fairmount Park, Philadelphia on April 22, 1970, intending to raise public awareness on environmental issues. | Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

UH faculty and students are commemorating the 40th birthday of Earth Day by throwing a celebration of environmentalism and sustainability on Thursday.

The first Earth Day started as a teaching initiative to promote acts of environmental consciousness.

“We see it as a great way to spread awareness, revamp people’s attention to the issues, and that ‘going green’ shouldn’t just be a fad, but should be integrated into your lifestyle,” said Vivian Nguyen, Secretary of the Environmental Club at UH.

The Environmental Club is one of many organizations across campus that plans on participating in the festival, which will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday in the Butler Plaza, in front of the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library entrance.

“The Environment Club will be having a booth trying to recruit people to sign a petition for climate legislation,” Nguyen said. “The person who brings back the most signed petitions will get a $30 gift card to Buffalo Exchange. We will also be collecting old computer batteries, cell batteries and chargers to be recycled.”

In addition to the Environmental Club’s festivities, there will be numerous other attractions, including recycling games, workshops, giveaways, concessions provided by Coke Zero and Chipotle and a plethora of educational presentations from various individuals and organizations.

Among those will be a weather balloon demonstration by assistant professor of atmospheric science Barry Lefer, who will provide a lesson on ozone transportation.

“The balloon payload includes instruments to measure temperature, pressure, relative humidity, wind speed, wind direction, altitude and GPS location every second during the flight between the surface and 30 km,” Lefer said in a release. “The data is radioed back to the receiving station on campus in real-time and used to study the transport of ozone to and from the Houston area.”

There will also be a “Test Your Carbon Footprint IQ” competition hosted by the Sustainability Task Force, in which participants will calculate their own carbon emissions based on many factors of their everyday lives and then learn how to reduce their harm to the environment.

In addition to contributions from many on-campus parties, several off-campus organizations have been asked to participate, such as Green Mountain Energy, which will inform people about alternative energy options, and Hertz, which will promote car sharing and green commuting.

Finally, the results of the nationwide RecycleMania competition, in which UH has been competing against hundreds of other universities for the last 10 weeks by measuring recycling weights across campus, will be announced.

A full calendar of Earth Day events and times can be found at

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