By Cindy (Binh) Nguyen
A highly-anticipated Earth Day is approaching FDU’s doorstep on April 22. Since 2007, the Metropolitan Campus has participated in an Earth Day celebration hosted by the school’s student-run environmental club, The Green Team, in conjunction with The Green Campus Committee formed by faculty.
From planting competitions to recycling programs, Earth Day events bring awareness to the environment and encourage students and faculty to celebrate the planet. Earth Day is not only a reminder of FDU’s green and sustainable efforts but also an opportunity for students to gather, learn, and adjust their lifestyles.
Last year, however, both The Green Team and The Green Campus Committee seemed to be sleeping on Earth Day. The Green Team was also inactive in other events and activities throughout the year. Since then, rumors have surrounded the campus about the future of The Green Team and FDU’s ecological efforts.
The Equinox interviewed Dr. Alice Benzecry, co-chair of The Green Campus Committee and advisor of The Green Team, to verify the return of Earth Day 2019 and address students’ environmental worries.
When confronted about the disappearance of Earth Day 2018, which upset long-time supporters and interested students, Dr. Benzecry responded, “Last year was a disaster for The Green Team. For reasons beyond my control, I was not the advisor for the Green Team and the Green Team was basically defunct.”
However, change is happening this year as Dr. Benzecry returned full force, “I finally got a group together reinstated as The Green Team last semester. We are determined to be back on track.”
Earth Day 2019 will be an important mark to The Green Team’s comeback. According to Dr. Benzecry, The Green Team plan to do a campus clean-up and organize a plant sale on Wednesday, April 17, which “[will be] really fun with music, food, prices and a wide variety of plants on sale, from cactus – everyone’s favorite, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, to herbs.”
Students are welcomed to join the event, have a good time, and bring home cute plants, all of which are organic, clean, and pesticide free.
Dr. Kent Fairfield, an associate professor of management at FDU, who has been active in sustainable activities for several years, added that FDU Metropolitan campus, with the assistance from Hackensack Riverkeeper, will do a Hackensack River cleanup in celebration of Earth Day.
“Students and faculty can participate by clearing trash and other debris on the bank of the river or board canoes to collect and remove floatables,” Dr. Fairfield said, “The more hands, the better.”
On the challenges facing The Green Campus Committee and The Green Team, Dr. Benzecry opened up about facility shortage and lack of support that made recycling more difficult. Instead of fighting for recycling, The Green Team would focus on reducing the use of things, especially plastics.
“Small steps at a time,” Dr. Benzecry said, “I want the Green Team to start with minimizing the use of disposable utensils, cups, dishes and bowls at our cafeterias. During Earth Day, we will collect signatures from students to request cafeterias to replace plastics with reusable alternatives.”
Plastic excess is one of the nation’s most pressing environmental issues. Exchange student Clara Bender was surprised at the shocking amount of plastic bags and water bottles on campus compared to her university in Germany.
Bender told The Equinox that plastic is undoubtedly the environment’s number one enemy. Plastic silverware at the SUB Dining Room gave Bender a bad impression of FDU. “It should be the campus’ first priority,” said Bender.
Cindy (Binh) Nguyen and Alix Battaglini at Earth Day Festival.
Photo by Anthony Covino
Students gather behind University Courts for Earth Day Celebration.
Photo by Anthony Covino