Campus prepares for upcoming Environmental Education Day 

By Natasha Muhametzyanova, Contributing Writer
April reminds us about the environment and sustainability. Throughout the month, the world celebrates a number of events aimed to end what actor and an environmentalist Ian Somerhalder called “environmental apathy.” From the National Environmental Education Week to Earth Day, April is filled with opportunities to learn more about the environment and the ways to help our planet. 
WLU is also ready to both educate and excite students with its annual Environmental Education Day (WLUEED), which will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on April 26 in the College Union. 
The event was started five years ago to encourage students to get involved in sustainability projects in their communities. 
WLUEED features presentations and a student competition with three different categories: creative problem solving and design, service learning project related to campus sustainability and research poster presentation on a sustainability-related project.
The West Liberty University Foundation is sponsoring the event. First place in each category will receive a $100 prize. 
“Every year we pick a day between the Earth Day and the Arbor Day [April 28] and invite the campus community to come together and engage in the conversation on sustainability,” said Dr. Vishakha Maskey, the chair of the event. 
“Our sustainability committee consists of faculty, staff and student leaders who are trying to make our campus more energy efficient, to decrease waste and to improve our recycling program,” Maskey added. 
WLUEED will give students a chance to learn more about recycling and contribute to two different recycling drives. Students will also learn more about environmental initiatives from local organizations and businesses. The campus’s food service company Sodexo will also talk about its input on sustainability initiatives. 
“I think sustainability should be a way of life. Sustainability is not just about the environment. It’s about society and economics, about having a balance. So it’s important to be aware of how our actions impact the environment,” Maskey said. 
This year, environmentalists worry that sustainability goals proposed by the United Nations (UN) might be forgotten as President Trump signs executive orders that offset President Obama’s executive actions on climate change. People in major cities mobilize to remind the nation about the cause. 
“I think the president’s actions will actually make people more aware of how important it is to be responsible for our environment,” Maskey said. “Things like clean water and air, we take them for granted. Now people start asking questions, ‘What’s going to happen without these regulations?’ Such drastic changes only encourage people to be more vocal and proactive, and they personally look for ways to make their lives more sustainable.”  

Photo credit: Morgan Blacka