From Oct. 9 through Oct. 15, the University’s Sustainability Office, among other campus organizations, will be hosting a variety of events dedicated to promoting and highlighting campus sustainability. Ranging from a film screening to the widely attended Pumpkin Fest, Sustainability Week will ensure a range of sustainable resources is readily available to students. Likewise, campus sustainability organizers hope that the events of this week will encourage students to think deeply and critically about the ways in which they can be more sustainable on campus.

A variety of campus organizations are involved in the events of this week, including the College of the Environment, the Department of Earth and Environmental Science, the University’s Sustainability Office, Wesleyan Eco Facilitators, and Long Lane Farm. Each of these groups, specifically the Sustainability Office and Eco Facilitators, sponsor year-round sustainable programs, in addition to the larger campus-wide efforts that are slated in for this week.

Events include a screening of “Chasing Coral,” a critically-acclaimed documentary highlighting the invention of a time-lapse camera that captures the effects of ocean acidification on coral populations. The film shows the visual evidence of the ways in which our actions impact the ocean, in addition to depicting the journey of a crew as they attempt to capture this footage. The screening will take place on Oct. 10 in Exley 150 from 7 to 9 p.m.

“With its breathtaking photography, nail-biting suspense, and startling emotion, ‘Chasing Coral’ is a dramatic revelation that won’t have audiences sitting idle for long,” the screening’s Facebook page notes.

On Oct. 11, the University’s Sustainability Office, in conjunction with Eco Facilitators will be hosting a sale of a variety of succulents and cacti outside of Usdan. Succulents, as desert organisms, can survive on very little water, and are therefore more sustainable plant companions than their more water-consuming relatives. The sale will take place during lunchtime, beginning at 12 p.m.

Oct. 12 will be the “Cupanion Mug Giveaway,” during which tumblers will be given away outside of Usdan. Cupanion is a program that allows Wesleyan students the chance to earn free cups of coffee by using their own mugs or thermoses when they purchase coffee at Usdan Café or Pi Café, in addition to other campus locations. Stickers are available for free at a variety of campus locations. Once a sticker is affixed to a coffee thermos, students can download the Cupanion app and scan the sticker, thus entering the thermos into the system. For every ten times the sticker is scanned at participating campus locations, the student will earn a free cup of coffee. The mug giveaway event will begin at 12 p.m.

In addition to this event, on Wednesday, Oct.11, at 4:30 p.m. there will also be a pumpkin-carving event taking place at the Fauver courtyard. Students will be provided with pumpkins and sustainable information, specifically about composting, from members of the Sustainability Office and Residential Life.

At the end the week, there will be the annual Long Lane Farm Pumpkin Fest, which is dedicated to providing students with farm-grown food and information on the University’s student-run farm. In past years, students have been able to pick up re-purposed or handmade clothing and have been given the opportunity to explore one of the more organic campus locations. This year, Long Lane is asking students to bring socks and t-shirts for tie-dying, half of the proceeds for which will go to support the North End Farmers Market. The North End Farmers Market, an important aspect of Middletown and Long Lane sustainability, is currently at risk of being defunded.

Alea Laidlaw ’20, who works at Long Lane Farm and as an Eco Facilitator, noted other programs taking place during Pumpkin Fest.

“We will be having vegetable instruments this year,” she said. “Pumpkin Fest involves a lot of coordination with Wesleyan bands, local artists and businesses from Middletown, collaboration with other student groups on campus such as the Eco Facilitator program, and finally other local farmers who provide the mini pumpkins! We take out crafts for the kids and make sure that the event is kid-friendly and open the everyone!”

Members of the campus community who are involved in this event note the importance of devoting time to exploring the many facets of sustainability. Sustainability Director Jen Kleindienst is one of the spearheads of the week’s events.

“Wesleyan’s second Campus Sustainability Week is a way to introduce students to sustainability in a variety of ways and deepen engagement and understanding around sustainability issues,” she wrote in an email to The Argus.

Likewise, Eco Facilitator Noah Langat ’20 broadened the importance of sustainability.

“When I think about environmental sustainability, I think of what modernism promises us: adventure, power, joy, and transformation, but at the same time, [all that] threatens to destroy everything we have, everything we know and everything we are,” he explained.

Phie Towle ’20, another Eco Facilitator involved in Sustainability Week, explained the impact participating in campus sustainability programs has had on her life.

“I am a big fan of the infamous Veg Out Tuesday,” she explained. “I’m now a vegan, but we aren’t asking people to be vegan, we are just hoping to make the environmental impacts of various choices on campus known to students who then can make their own cost-benefit analysis. Aka, if you can’t live without bacon, okay, eat bacon, but maybe you’ll decide to take a shorter shower.”

Laidlaw explained the important role Long Lane has played in her time at the University.

“I have loved working at Long Lane Farm—it promotes a self of community and collective work fighting for tangible food justice initiatives on campus,” she said. “Learning how to grow your own food is an empowering process and it is important to learn about how to live sustainably and locally.”


Emmy Hughes can be reached at or on Twitter @emmyughes. 

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