Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 9
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

    Whitman to commemorate its 29th Earth Day on Sunday

    Since 1970 Whitman’s Earth Day celebration has been changing, and this year is no exception.   The event has expanded to include an activity fair with 23 different groups from the college and Walla Walla communities, providing students and community members with opportunities to find out how they can get involved. It will be held on the April 20 from 1 to 3 p.m.”We have talked about doing sort of an activities fair to show off the various things people can get involved in and decided to take this opportunity to put the fair on,” said event organizer and Campus Greens president Karlis Rokpelnis.Rokpelnis, with Brittany Smith and Jesse Phillips, has been actively planning the event since the beginning of the semester. Whitman Peace Coalition and Campus Greens co-sponsor the event.”Campus Greens decided last year that they wanted to start a tradition of having entertainment on Ankeny in celebration for Earth Day. Each year, we plan to make the event larger,” said Smith through e-mail.Last year attendance was somewhere between 200 and 300 people, according to Rokpelnis.   He hopes attendance will grow with the new activities.”All the environmental groups on campus are offering activities. One talked about possibly doing face painting and some will be offering food.   Also, there will be a raffle with a lot of environmentally related prizes from all of the organizations, but mostly Campus Greens and Peace Coalition,” said Rokpelnis.Also new this year is a film series that started on April 16 and ends this Tuesday.   The series contains films from Hanford all the way to China.”The first Earth Day in history was held on April 22, 1970. Whitman College has been involved in supporting this celebration since its beginning,” said Smith.   However, Lecturer of Chemistry Deborah Simon, who was a sophomore at the time, doesn’t remember Earth Day being anywhere near the event that it is now.”The whole ecology movement had just started and was really big, but there was no such thing as environmentalism; people called it conservation. They talked about conserving resources and planting trees but there wasn’t such thing as environmentalism or a feeling of this urgent crisis as there is now,” said Simon.”Now the whole idea of environmentalism is much more mainstream.   It’s more than just something a few students were involved with,” said Simon.”The [Vietnam] war overshadowed everything, put everything on the periphery.   There was this dawning awareness that the world was a bigger place,” she said.To those involved today Earth Day incorporates similar sentiments about their existence in a bigger place.”Our goal is to show that there is not just one way to be friendly to our world. There are many ways to care for the world, and we all can get involved. We hope attendees walk away wanting to be involved both on and off campus. This is our world, and we have the right to protect and preserve it,” said Smith.

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