Earth Day, which became an official day of significance in 1970, inspires over one billion people each year to take action for the betterment of the environment through human behavior and policy changes. Started in the United States, it became a global movement in the 1990s.
Earth Day is celebrated widely but especially on college campuses. What’s more, many colleges don’t limit environmental change to just one day on their campus. They celebrate all year long.
Check out the 10 best Earth-friendly, green colleges:
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Colorado State University
Colorado State University has an entire school dedicated to sustainability. In addition to having several minors and course offerings on the subject, the school is a resource for students looking to gain professional skills and competence in order to make themselves more marketable for careers in sustainability after college.
Students actually monitor the carbon and nitrogen footprint of CSU’s campus and work to improve and inform the school based on their findings. And it’s no surprise that Earth Day is a big deal at CSU. In fact, the school celebrates for a total of two weeks, culminating the celebration with a festival.
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SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
SUNY College ESF is in the business of educating students on best practices for protecting the environment – just look at the name! Students have the option to study in one of their many undergraduate and graduate programs, from renewable materials science to sustainable energy management.
Throughout the year, the college celebrates the environment with a bike-friendly campus, clothing swaps, a campus garden, and outreach and community service. Earth Week is a campus-wide event. Students are encouraged to give back to Mother Earth through a campus service day on Earth Day, and then the rest of the week is spent doing fun activities, like Tie Dye, Birds of Prey demonstrations, and hands-on workshops.
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University of California (Berkeley)
University of California – Berkeley doesn’t just work hard to reduce waste, achieve carbon neutrality, and rethink energy; they make it fun. With a series of campus- and state-wide challenges, students compete against themselves and other schools in order to create a college experience that is at one with nature.
Earth Day is a huge deal at UC Berkeley. The main stage at the event features green speakers and musicians. They also welcome many earth-friendly vendors, with a focus on yummy food and beverages. Finally, the campus plays host to the Wild and Scenic Film Festival during this weekend.
University of Dayton
The University of Dayton just launched its first sustainability major in the fall of 2020. Before that, the school offered a minor in sustainability as well as many course offerings to prepare students that are looking ahead for a career in sustainability, energy and the environment.
Earth Day at the University of Dayton is a fun affair. Attendees can take advantage of free biking, kayaking, ziplining, fishing and yoga. Last year, the featured event was a cooking competition, similar to those seen on “Chopped.” Teams had one hour to create a tasty vegetarian meal.
University of Connecticut
Sustainability at University of Connecticut is a way of life that has been embraced by faculty, staff and students. From building construction to dining hall menus, the efforts made to maximize sustainability are evident. Students work hard to create events that make sustainability fun. For instance, Green Game Day is a student-led initiative to recycle at all sporting events on campus. Another event, EcoMadness, is a campus-wide competition to see which student housing units can conserve the most energy and water.
Each year, the campus throws their annual Earth Day Spring Fling. The event hosts vendors of sustainable and hand-crafted goods, organic and local foods, environmental organizations, and student groups. A ceremonial, class tree is planted each year as well.
Arizona State University
Arizona State University has a multi-layered approach to educating and acting on environmental issues. The university invests research into how climate behaves and changes, works hard to educate on proper stewardship of our resources, and finally showcases the environment through art.
Earth Day at Arizona State University isn’t just limited to one day; it is celebrated the entire month of April. The campus hosts speakers and workshops as well as walking tours and an Earth Day Festival.
In 2008, Dickinson College vowed to achieve carbon neutrality by 2020. Earlier this year, the college celebrated its achievement of this monumental goal, making it the first college in Pennsylvania and one of the first in the whole country to do so. Students at Dickinson engage with environmental change through a campus-wide EcoChallenge, organic farming, and bee farming.
Earth Day at Dickinson College is a two-day event, featuring speakers and workshops to help students and the campus live on mission for sustainability.
Stanford University focuses its sustainability efforts to six main areas: energy, water, buildings and grounds, transportation, food and living, and waste. The campus offers multiple opportunities for students to engage with sustainability efforts, from student groups to internships to research.
Stanford makes its Earth Day celebrations open to the public each year. Attendees can choose from speakers, films and workshops to educate themselves on best practices for protecting the environment.
St. Mary’s College of Maryland
St. Mary’s College of Maryland believes that sustainability is all about connectedness – how we connect to our world and each other. Through the Office of Sustainability, students can apply for fellowships, internships, and work-study jobs. There are also a variety of clubs, organizations and volunteer opportunities for students to take an active role in campus sustainability.
St. Mary’s College of Maryland works closely with the community where the college is located, Leonardtown, to celebrate Earth Day. During the festival in the town square, local experts and organizations teach on subjects like conservation, animal rescue, ecology, recycling, and sustainable living. Vendors provide green products, nature walks, waterman boat tours, kayak demonstrations, information, resources, live entertainment and food.
College of the Atlantic
College of the Atlantic is extremely focused on the environment – so much so that the only major they provide is in human ecology, which is the study of the environment and how it’s impacted by humans. You could say that every day is Earth Day at COA.
Earth Day festivities are different every year, but attendees are always guaranteed knowledgeable speakers, workshops, delicious food and music.