Why you should get involved in Earth Day activities on campus

Friday, April 22 is Earth Day. The occasion is used to bring attention to the problems facing the Earth, the environment and celebrates the natural beauty of our planet. Earth Day presents an opportunity to become more conscious of how our actions influence the planet. Even if Earth Day events can influence a few individuals to be more responsible with recycling or encourage people to pick up trash, then it is having a positive impact on the wellbeing of the Earth.

For several years, West Liberty University has played its part in raising awareness. This year’s Earth Day’s headline event is a clothing swap that was organized by West Liberty’s Net Impact chapter.

“This event at WLU is about generating awareness regarding sustainability and conscious consumerism through education and clothes swap events. We want our community to understand the connection between the clothes we wear on our bodies and their impact on our environment,” said Dr. Vishakha Maskey, professor of management and economics at WLU.

West Liberty’s clothing swap event is part of Net Impact’s broader “Wear it Wise” initiative. The WLU chapter applied for funding from Net Impact and received a grant to help support the clothing swap. “I applied for the initiative grant and the application was accepted,” said Maskey, who also serves as the West Liberty chapter advisor. “After that, two of my colleagues Professor Ingrid Loy and Tina Dewitt joined me and we are working well as a team, which includes faculty and staff.”

The “Wear it Wise” campaign revolves around sustainable fashion and bringing light to some of the problems of consumerism. “We want our community to understand the connection between the clothes we wear on our bodies and their impact on our environment. According to a report from The Ellen MacArthur Foundation, less than 1% of clothing is recycled into new garments, and $500 billion in value ends up in landfills every year. Clothes swap will allow these clothes to be circulated among our community, instead of landfill,” said Maskey.

The WLU clothes swap will allow members of the campus community to recycle articles of clothing they no longer use and pick up items that others no longer need, both reducing waste and helping individuals save. For every item donated, the donor will receive a token which they can exchange for any other item donated to the swap. Any item in good condition will be accepted including pants, tops, shirts, shoes, dresses, coats, accessories and jewelry.

The event will take place on Earth Day, April 22 in the College Union from 11-4 p.m. Individuals are encouraged to donate clothing in exchange for tokens to the BIC Center on the first floor of Main Hall to help build the inventory.

In the past, West Liberty has hosted a variety of events in honor of Earth Day including reusable water bottle decorating events, a shoe drive, recycling initiatives and information sessions, but few have been as ambitious as this year’s Net Impact clothing swap. “We hope to make this a recurring event. Based on the success of this first project, we are planning to create a movement on campus, where students can be part of something bigger, such as service learning, volunteering, internships, entrepreneurship, marketing and management, while making a positive economic, social and environmental impact. Opportunities are endless,” said Maskey.

The clothing swap event is a great way to get your foot in the door towards more sustainable living practices and allow you to play a part in protecting the planet. It is now more important than ever to be aware of the environmental damage being inflicted on the Earth. Earth Day provides a much-needed reminder of why initiatives like the clothing swap are so important. It opens conversations about the growing threats to the Earth such as climate change, pollution, contamination and makes us question how we can make a change.

Stop by on Friday to learn more about Earth Day and other opportunities to get involved with the Net Impact chapter’s work. The event is open to the entire campus community and everyone is encouraged to get involved.