UF CAIRES and sustainability students plan Earth Fest

By Jeanny Lavache

When it comes to reducing carbon foot prints and being more environmentally friendly; it is always helpful to have resources to help get started.

This is why University of Florida’s UF CAIRES and sustainability students have planned a day of fun and entertainment to educate the public on different ways to be more sustainable.

“We wanted an event that celebrated sustainability,” said Alyse Tristram, a sophomore at UF.

Earth Fest is a large entertainment event held at Flavet Field on April 9 with a large array of local businesses, student organizations and entertainment. The event will also have local bands and artists  as well as local and sustainable foods.

“Earth Fest is meant to display that you can get almost anything you need in and around Gainesville,” said Stephen Paolini, a second-year student at UF. “It’s really hard to achieve sustainability goals without a strong community.”

The event is an effort to bring awareness to sustainability on campus and get more students involved. The UF CAIRES organization have put so much time and planning into the Earth Fest event.

“It was basically a trial and error process because none of us have ever planned an event before,” Tristram said.

Uniting the many different student organizations on campus during Earth Fest really helps to draw a larger and more diverse group of students to the event.

“In order to sustain movements on campus, I think we need to have collaboration and coordination with the different groups in order to create a network of like-minded organizations,” Paolini said.

Sustainability is an important issue for a large university such as UF.

“UF is so big we function like a small city,” said Allison Vitt, outreach and communications coordinator for the University of Florida’s office of sustainability. “Our annual electricity bill is $40 million.”

Many steps have been taken to make UF a more sustainable campus.

“We were one of the first schools to get Chick-fil-A to switch from Styrofoam cups on campus,” Vitt said.

Students are also finding different techniques to be more sustainable, even in small ways.

“The first step is to be aware, and do little things like carpooling and getting involved,” Tristram said.

Earth Fest will offer a look at many of the different ways to get involved with sustainability on campus and around the community.

“In order for our campus to be a beautiful and great place to learn and live we have to focus on being as sustainable as possible,” Vitt said.