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S.P.E.A.K. Hosts Eco-Week

By: Kaitlyn Lee

Beginning February 25, Trine University’s student run environmental awareness organization invites you to participate in the relaunching of Eco-Week. Students Promoting Environmental Awareness and Knowledge, or S.P.E.A.K., will present a week-long environmental campaign to encourage Trine students and faculty to reflect on their environmental impact.

The week will consist of specialized days to highlight waste and pollution present in different aspects of everyday life. Brynn Molter, President of S.P.E.A.K., believes that the “planning [of] interesting events,” such as Eco-Week, is the key to putting environmental issues at the forefront of community concerns. In the same vein, the treasurer and adviser of S.P.E.A.K., Professor Brandy DePriest, states that she believes this event will facilitate “a stronger community by working together to preserve the planet for future generations.” With the goal of fostering like-minded efforts to preserve the Earth, the organization hopes to reestablish a presence on campus after a year-long hiatus.

  • Meal Measure Monday- The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that 30-40% of all food produced is wasted, with everyday retailers and consumers being significant culprits of this appalling data. In an effort to demonstrate that Trine is not exempt from this outrageous statistic, S.P.E.A.K. and Bon Appétit will collect all the food students throw away throughout a single day in order to get a rough estimate of the total amount of food wasted by the institution every year. S.P.E.A.K. plans to utilize their findings on Monday to open a dialogue and continue the effort to increase awareness about unnecessary resource consumption by the student body. 
  • Trayless & Trivia Tuesday- Many are unaware of the environmental impact of seemingly innocuous action, such as the simple act of using a tray during meal time. These trays not only promote food waste, but the act of cleaning them is a source of gratuitous water usage. In order to combat the negative effects of these trays, S.P.E.A.K has partnered with Bon Appétit to remove them from Whitney Commons for one day. While special accommodations can be made, it is encouraged that students reevaluate what is necessary for them to enjoy their meal. In addition, S.P.E.A.K. will send out an email filled with trivia questions related to nature and conservation in order to test Trine’s environmental literacy. This email will also include survey questions to assess what Trine students hope to see accomplished, as well as questions relating to how these goals would be best achieved. Upon completion of this survey, students who have demonstrated competence and willingness to enact positive change will be entered to win S.P.E.A.K. water bottles.
  • Water Wednesday- In addition to offering simple tips and tricks to help reduce water waste, the importance of water conservation will be heavily emphasized in order to ensure the public knowledge of the severity of the issue. To underscore the positive impact of collective public effort, S.P.E.A.K. will release its findings regarding the amount of water saved by Trine students from Trayless Tuesday. Students who participate in Water Wednesday will also receive S.P.E.A.K. water bottles to reduce disposable plastic bottle consumption.
  • Theater Showing Thursday- The short documentary, “Seeds of Freedom,” which explores the monopolization of African agriculture due to the introduction of GMOs, will be played in Best 229 at 6 and 7 p.m. The film will then be followed up with a brief Q&A regarding both the documentary’s content and S.P.E.A.K.’s work. The organization hopes to facilitate connections with the student body to promote interest in their cause. Students are encouraged to attend in order to broaden their horizons in regards to international politics and support campus organizations; students who choose to participate will receive IGNITE points and free popcorn to enjoy during the movie.
  • Cut the Fuse Friday- It’s no secret that turning off electronics saves energy, so where is the necessity of using the artificial lighting during the day, when natural sunlight is abundant? To challenge the socially conditioned habit of using nonessential electrical energy, S.P.E.A.K. challenges buildings and rooms with access to natural light to rely on that rather than light bulbs, whose energy is often derived from fossil fuels.

 Each of these days were designed and coordinated by the members of S.P.E.A.K. who hope to share their passion for the planet with their peers here at Trine. The appointed Recycling Sheriff, Griffin Lorimer, reiterates that the point of Eco-Week is to “inform students on the importance [of] growing environmentally friendly habits;” a goal which would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of the Trine’s most environmentally savvy students.