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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Earth day celebrated through student activism

Published: April 24, 2009
Section: News

PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot

PHOTO BY Max Shay/The Hoot

Gallery: Earth Day Concert

The Spring Into Activism fair reconvened on Thursday in honor of earth day in order to raise awareness of different activist groups and causes on campus after being postponed Wednesday due to rain.

Students for Environmental Action (SEA) and Positive Foundations (PF) headed the event where activist clubs were invited to cook up some homemade food for a fundraising buffet. The proceeds will be divided equally among the participating groups.

Students paid five dollars to buy a plate they could load with food, however, SEA offered discounts if students participated in SEA’s campus clean-up and beautification initiative in honor of earth day.

SEA’s beautification initiative “removed invasive species in the wetlands behind the Heller School and replanted native ones,” SEA President Matt Schmitt ’11 said.

About five students participated in the clean up.

While the fair started off strong with student bands and a capella, the crowd was thin due to poor weather.

Event organizer and PF member Cecelia Watkins ’11 explained that the event was, “more to network and raise awareness of our causes,” rather than a huge fundraiser.

Her sentiment was echoed by members of other clubs present. “It’s more about participating in the activist community,” said Eco-Rep Bruce Strong ’10, representing facilities services, as he handed out ice cream. The ice cream was donated by Aramark as a pat on the back to the campus for raising our recycling rate to 16 percent.

Other groups were selling t-shirts and bracelets to help raise money in addition to the money raised by the admission price. STAND, the student led division of the Genocide Intervention Network, had postcards for students to fill out and send to President Obama urging him to make Darfur a priority in his administration.

“I think its good,” said Rachel Pulinthitta ’10 while tabling for the Global Aids Campaign selling t-shirts and offering bruschetta. Pulinthitta continued, “you don’t always have activist groups together like this.”

Despite the small turn out, many of the participating groups seemed to appreciate the opportunity to communicate with each other and have their names and causes broadcast. One group, the Activist Resource Center, wants to be a constant source of networking for activist clubs, beyond events like the Spring Into Activism Fair. Nathan Ross ’11 explained, “we work to help activists communicate and be more effective.”

Ross also pointed out that while there might not have been a huge student turn out, the event was proof of the strength of the activist community. “There is a specific community,” he said, “there is a lot of overlap [in club members].”

Maia Fejgin Stamieszkin ‘11, tabling jointly for the Vegan Club and Students for a Democratic Society, said, “there is definitely a sense of a pretty cohesive group of people…and groups overlap in the issues we address,” said Stamieszkin.

Stamieszkin’s co-tabler Mariel Gruszko ’10, put it succinctly, “[the event] was more about participating in the activist community.”