Time for Change Week opened with Undergraduate Student Government’s third-annual Sustainability Fair in the Ohio Union on Monday.
More than 40 environmental groups set up interactive booths featuring their sustainability efforts across campus and Columbus, including both student and nonprofit organizations. Nearly 750 students attended the fair, a 50-percent increase from last year’s attendance, said USG sustainability deputy director Tyler Hoerst, a fourth-year in environment, economy, development and sustainability.
Each student organization in attendance focused on a specific facet of environmentalism.
“Small decisions make a big impact,” said Samuel Reed, USG’s director of sustainability and a fourth-year in environmental science and ecology. “What you decide to do in your everyday life — cumulatively, if you look at the entire population — it makes a big difference.”
Best Food Forward gave away more than $100 worth of fresh produce to students passing by. Another student organization, Net Impact, invited students to make their own succulent planters out of old wine corks. The Parks and Recreation Society, a student group that focuses on outdoor adventure and professional development in environmental education, screened the TV show “Parks and Recreation” while advertising its organization.
Also in attendance at this year’s fair was Roll, a bicycle shop that builds custom bikes in three models: adventure, city and sport, according to its website. Students rode a stationary bike attached to a computer that calculated the miles per hour the rider pedaled, with the fastest pedaler receiving a prize.
Hong Kui Chen, a third-year in pharmaceutical sciences and bike commuter, stopped by the booth to see how fast he could pedal.
“I came (to the sustainability fair) to make myself aware of what’s going on in the world right now and find out what I can do as a hu
man being to make the world a better place, honestly,” he said.
Chen said he bikes everywhere — even though his car is on campus — as a way to reduce his environmental impact.
Shefali Ferguson, a third-year in biology, said a classmate of her’s was working at the Sustainability Fair, which prompted her to attend as well.
“We’re all in college, so we all like free things,” Ferguson said. “I think it’s a really cool way to reach out to different people when you have a bunch of different groups in one place, like the involvement fair at the beginning of the year.”
Ferguson said taking steps to improve the health of the planet and live more sustainably can be done through small, simple actions each day.
“So, if we all do the easy thing — like turn two steps over and throw things in the recycling bin or try not to waste food, stuff like that — then we’ll all kind of make a smaller difference,” she said.