By Laura Fishman

Students are spicing up Earth Day with “Ode to the Globe,” an Earth Day festival promoting environmental awareness with fun and education.

The celebration will take place at College Eight on Apr. 22, and will feature guest speakers addressing sustainability as well as musical performances by Push to Talk and Buckeye Knoll. Volunteers will lead educational workshops on composting, biofuels and sustainable food systems.

While many environmentalists live in the city of Santa Cruz, very few Earth Day events exist in the town. According to the City Environmental Project Analyst Suzanne Healy, the city is hoping to plan a large Earth Day event next year.

“I’ve met with some environmental groups and everybody is focusing on the Earth Day event in the city of Watsonville,” Healy said. “Next year we’re hoping to start one in Santa Cruz, and we’ll start planning it this year.”

Meanwhile, on the UC Santa Cruz campus, students associated with College Eight, the Student Environmental Center and Calpirg are working together to create a special Earth Day event, which will be much different from any held in the past. In previous years, the Earth Day celebration constituted a music festival centered around an anti-hate theme. In the past couple of years, it has evolved to focus on the environment and sustainability. This year, the coordinators are including more activities and planning an event not just for students, but also for anybody in the Santa Cruz community. They hope to embrace a large audience with all different types of people.

Co-coordinators of the event, Jessica Wackenhut and Laura Salcido, from the College Eight Programs Office, made posters and created a website. They chose the name “Ode to the Globe” because it would appeal not just to environmentalists, but also a much broader audience.

“We’re trying to make it bigger and open it up to a lot more people,” Wackenhut said. “We want to make it an event for people to look forward to once a year and make it a tradition for College Eight to host it. That would be the ideal.”

The annual environmental event has been a small gathering at College Eight for the past three years. The event coordinators want to make the event well known and hope to get more students involved in the future.

“Since it’s new, it hasn’t made an impact of how it’s unique,” Salcido said. “Hopefully it will build a strong tradition and keep going.”

Although the main event is taking place on Sunday, those in the College Eight Programs Office are organizing activities all week to lead up to the main event. The College Eight Dining Hall is serving completely organic food at College Night, where The Food Systems Working Group will be tabling with information about sustainable food. The College Eight Dining Hall will also host a late night dinner with film screenings that promote environmental causes.

Tim Galarneau, the food system working group coordinator at the Student Environmental Center (SEC), is working to educate people about sustainability this week. The food system working group is traveling to other college campuses, including San Jose State University and Cabrillo College, to table and educate others about sustainability awareness.

Galarneau will be organizing a screening of “The Future of Food” at the Ode to the Globe event and, along with other SEC members, will be leading discussions about food systems.

“I think it will be educational and hopefully fun and interactive as well,” Galarneau said

With the event’s growing popularity, people won’t have to travel as far as Watsonville to learn about sustainable lifestyles in the community.

While writing notes about the event, Jessica Wackenhut smiled and said, “It’s a great way to outreach to people and have people look at the sustainability movement.”

_For more event information, visit: