Earth Day Activities to Include Outdoor Activities, Tree Planting, Keynote by Citizen Engagement Specialist

Nebraska's Wesleyan's Environmental Action student organization is planning a day full of activities in celebration of Earth Day.

This year's Earth Day celebration on Monday, April 22, will be highlighted by internationally-acclaimed author and citizen engagement specialist Paul Loeb. 

Loeb has spent over 30 years researching and writing about citizen responsibility and empowerment — asking what makes some people choose lives of social commitment, while others abstain.

Earth Day activities begin at noon when Loeb will lead a student workshop on effective political engagement with an overview of barriers people face in trying to get others involved in critical issues, and how to overcome them. The workshop will include dialogue on ways to get the campus more involved in key issues like sustainability and other social justice issues. The workshop will be held in Callen Conference Center.

From 1 to 4 p.m. Environmental Action will host a variety of lawn activities including: making tie-dye tshirts, getting henna tattoos, and making and hanging bird feeders. Several informational booths will be set up on topics including recycling and water bottle usage. Those attending Earth Day activities are asking to bring plastic shopping bags for a student project that turns the bags into sleeping mats for the homeless. 

From 2 to 4 p.m., connect with local and national environmental organizations including Audubon, Bold Nebraska, Nebraskans For Peace, Whitetails Unlimited, and Interfaith Power + Light. 

At 2 p.m. communication professor will lead a yoga class.

At 3:30 p.m., a biology class studying conservationist and Sierra Club founder John Muir will move its class outdoors and will invite the campus for a discussion. 

A tree-planting ceremony will conclude the day's outdoor activities, which will all be held on the lawn between Lucas Hall and Johnson and Pioneer halls.

From 3 to 4 p.m., Loeb will lead a faculty/staff workshop that poses the question, "should faculty encourage students to get engaged in environmental and social justice issues?" Loeb will discuss barriers to student involvement and what faculty and staff can do to overcome them. The workshop will include a dialogue exploring themes to important environmental and social justice issues on campus. Faculty and staff are asked to email Chelsea Johnson by Sunday, April 21 if you plan to attend.

Earth Day activities will conclude with Loeb's keynote lecture at 7 p.m. in Olin B Lecture Hall. His lecture will address how ordinary citizens can make their voices heard and actions count in a time when told that neither matter, with a particular focus on environmental issues and climate change. He will also discuss how people get involved in larger community issues, what stops people from getting involved, how people burn out in exhaustion or maintain their commitment, and how involvement can give people a sense of connection and purpose to their personal life.

All Earth Day activities are free.

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