Next week, Yale will kick off a promotion for its Sustainability Strategic Plan with the annual Celebrate Sustainability Week.
The five-day environmentally-conscious celebration will feature over 40 events across different schools, disciplines and on-campus organizations. The week is designed to further the goals of the University’s Sustainability Strategic Plan — a three-year initiative announced by University President Peter Salovey last fall — by encouraging organizations on campus and in the community to engage the Yale population in sustainability-related education and programs. Students and organizers interviewed said they hope the week’s events will bring greater awareness to sustainable practices on campus.
“We’re hoping that this week … will serve to empower members of the Yale community to become more active in Yale sustainability efforts and to promote better partnerships across the University,” said Ryan Laemel ’14, a Woodbridge Fellow at the Office of Sustainability.
According to Laemel, the week will feature a greater number of events and participating organizations than in past years.
Over the five days, students can participate in events ranging from a tree-planting ceremony to honor Yale employees, tours of both Yale power plants and a Monday conference on alternative fuels coordinated by Greater New Haven Clean Cities.
In addition to the scheduled events, the Office of Sustainability is hosting a social media campaign called “sustainability selfies” that asks students and alumni to photograph themselves attending a Sustainability Week event or engaging in an environmentally-conscious action.
The Sustainability Service Corps, the group of students employed by the Office of Sustainability, will also hold events throughout the week in prominent areas of campus. Members of Sustainability Service Corps said they will be holding a “waste audit” on Cross Campus where a trash bin will be overturned and then analyzed for pieces of waste that could have been recycled or composted. There will also be another campaign outside Durfees that urges students to reduce their plastic bag use at the store.
“I think [this week] is awesome because it reflects the message that we’re trying to get across, which is that sustainability shouldn’t be limited to the Office of Sustainability or to environmentally-focused groups,” said Natalia Perelman ’17, sustainability coordinator for Branford College and a member of the Sustainability Service Corps. “It should be something that’s prevalent and that we think about no matter where we are and what we’re involved with.”
Perelman added that last year, she had not known that Celebrate Sustainability Week existed. She said she hopes this year will bring heightened awareness.
President of the Yale Student Environmental Coalition Daniel Leibovic ’17, said that while YSEC was not able to formally coordinate any events for the week, the organization and its partners — including Project Bright, Bee Space and Fossil Free Yale — will continue to hold weekly meetings open to the Yale population.
“While the calendar of Celebrate Sustainability Week definitely provides a great concrete step for anyone interested in learning more about Yale’s environmental scene, it really is only a snapshot of what goes on every week here at Yale,” Leibovic said.
The week will kick off on Cross Campus at 8:00 a.m. on Monday morning for a free yoga class hosted by Yogis at Yale.