Plymouth State University’s Office of Environmental Sustainability (OES) and its student environmental clubs are gearing up for virtual and in-person Earth Week activities, which will highlight the University’s sustainability commitments and engage students in sustainability-related events.
The OES Instagram and Facebook pages will be posting “sustainable living tips” every day throughout the week of April 18. On Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, Director of OES Dr. Brian Eisenhauer will host a Zoom session and Q&A at 1:00 p.m. titled, Sustainability at Plymouth State University on Earth Day 2021: Progress and Aspirations. This session will highlight the benefits solar power has brought to PSU, the University’s biomass and geothermal systems, and the next steps to come for PSU sustainability.
Student-led initiatives kick off on Saturday, April 17, when the Geography and Environmental Planning Club joins the Plymouth Conservation Committee in repairing broken wooden hiking trail footbridges in Plymouth’s Walter-Newton Natural Area. “So much of this infrastructure relies on volunteer work, and it is very important we remember to give back to those who work so hard for us to enjoy nature this way,” says Club President Clayton Titus ’21. “Every week is Earth Week, or it should be,” he added.
Following the trail work, “Common Ground,” PSU’s Environmental, Peace, and Social Justice Club, will host many virtual and in-person events for students throughout Earth Week beginning on Monday, April 19, at 7:00 p.m., with a virtual environmentally-themed trivia night. The trivia champion will win a gift card to a local business downtown, and all who participate will be entered in a raffle for the same prize. The event is open to the public, click here for the Zoom link.
On Tuesday, April 20, Common Ground and PSU’s Student Government are co-sponsoring a trash pick-up event from 1:00–4:00 p.m. Winners for the most amount of trash gathered, the greatest number of cans collected, and coolest item found will receive $15 gift cards to local restaurants downtown.
PSU’s eco-friendly culture is spurring many new initiatives including the new solar array on top of the Physical Education (PE) Center, the new climate studies bachelor’s degree program, and new electric vehicle (EV) charging stations on campus.
The solar array offsets more than 90 percent of the PE Center’s annual electricity consumption and is a major step forward in PSU’s goal of achieving 50 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2025 and carbon neutrality by 2050.
The climate studies program is the first of its kind in New Hampshire and one of very few in the United States and will prepare graduates to address the climate crisis in a wide variety of careers throughout the growing field. “You get the climate science knowledge but pick where you want to apply it, whether it’s art or business or public policy,” says meteorology major Alyssa Griffin ’23. “Its uniqueness and flexibility make it the perfect degree for someone who has interests in multiple disciplines.”
The University recognized the growing need for widespread electric vehicle chargers and teamed up with the New Hampshire Electric Co-op to install two EV chargers on campus that allow users to “charge up” for free.