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.

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How I learned to be a Happy Virgin

By Jeanny Lavache

Being a virgin only became a burden once I stared college. In high school, I was always awkward and shy. I worried about everything from my grades to my appearance, but never did I really worry about sex.  It wasn’t until I got to the University of Florida that I quickly realized sex was everywhere and hookup culture wasn’t just a college stereotype.

It was hard listening to my friends go on about their thrilling sex lives, while I sat listening like an ignorant child. It was hard to date as well. Because I was a virgin, dating became tricky. I’ve never had a boyfriend, and this simple fact seemed to linger over me like a dark cloud that rained drops of rejection.

This is college. Who isn’t having sex in college? Well, that would be me. I was new to it all. I was “the virgin” in my friend group, and I would weakly cackle every time a joke about my gloomy love life was made. I wanted to date, and I wanted a boyfriend, but it started to seem like sex was the prerequisite to a relationship, or at least that’s what I saw around me.

Losing my virginity wasn’t something I wanted to save for marriage, but it also wasn’t something I was willing to do just to get out of the way. It was important to me and my fragile heart that I waited until I was absolutely ready, but I was closely approaching the age of 20, and I was slowly losing tolerance for my virgin status. I was tired of being seen as an infant.

Listening to stories about random hookups and friends with benefits arrangements became so normal that I started to believe I was the cause of my own loneliness. If only I was bold, confidant or just more outgoing. But honestly the whole idea intimidated me. I didn’t want to be someone I was not, but I also didn’t want to continue hearing “aww you’re still a virgin?” or “Wow, so you haven’t done anything?” Because of this constant sex presence, I started to believe that my conservative, old fashioned ways would lead to my eternal lack-of-love damnation.

So, decided I would stop hoping my “perfect guy” would romantically stumble into my life, and I took action. After much persuasion from my friends and convincing myself I wasn’t a desperate mess, I downloaded the infamous Tinder dating app. It only took a few matches and messages for me to realize it wasn’t for me. Every message I received from a guy followed the same format. I would be greeted with an extremely flattering compliment followed by a few general questions about myself, and it ended with them wondering if we could hangout. Everything would be fine until I mentioned that I was a virgin. This little detail got an array of reactions from “Are you serious?” to “I could change that” with a winky face. It was a waste of time, and I started to come to terms with my misfortune and prepared myself for a life of solitude and cats.

I deleted the app, and my life went on. I was still lonely, still a virgin and still the butt of every joke. I should have brushed it off and focused on school, but instead I allowed it to eat me up inside. I allowed others to project their ideas of love and relationships onto me, and I dwelled in my loneliness. But suddenly things around me changed. The stories from my friends went from thrilling to heartbreaking, and I saw the hurtful side of casual sex encounters. The fun friends with benefits arrangements turned into one sided relationships where sex was given in exchange for a limited amount of attention. This was when I finally snapped out of my peer-pressured trance, and realized I wasn’t the broken one.

I spent months trying to fit in, and it became clear to me that the people I chose to surround myself with were engaging in these activities not because it’s what college kids did, but because it was a way to fill a void in their life. For the first time in months I realized being a virgin wasn’t something to be ashamed of. I was still the “clueless virgin,” but at least I could say I was happy.