While Earth Day is on April 22, Montclair State University students can prepare for the green holiday on April 12 with a special student fair revolving around sustainability.
The PSEG Institute for Sustainability Studies (PSEGISS) is hosting the Point of Intervention (POI) tour on campus from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with special panel speakers starting afterward at 1:30 p.m.
Dann Truitt, the program coordinator for PSEGISS, believes this tour challenges consumption economy and spreads the message that “nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something.”
“It’s a great opportunity for individuals to explore various facets of sustainability, including environmental, fashion, donation, food and more,” Truitt said.
PSEGISS is funded by PSEG, but the institute itself helps support research on campus regarding STEM initiatives. It even supports community projects and events surrounding sustainability in the town of Montclair. PSEGISS also has a Green Team internship program where students are put into transdisciplinary teams to partner with corporations looking to become more sustainable.
The tour is set up like a fair, looping from the Center for Environmental Life Sciences building to the Student Center Quad. It will move to the fourth floor of the Student Center for inclement weather if needed. The theme of the fair will be titled “Passport for Sustainability” and will host different “countries” created by PSEGISS ambassadors. These countries will represent each ambassador’s passions and will demonstrate sustainable actions depending on the message of their country.
Different on-campus organizations will also have booths for students to interact with, such as Red Hawk Food Pantry, Animal Activists Club, Community Garden and Environmental Club. Off-campus organizations, like Goodwill, will also be in attendance to spread sustainable initiatives and to collect donations.
Sophomore sustainability science major Lauren Willett is one of the five Montclair State Earth Day ambassadors for PSEGISS as well as the project manager for the POI tour. Previously, Willett was a PSEGISS Green Team intern and was encouraged by the director of PSEGISS to become an Earth Day ambassador.
“The first thing in my head was I want to do something with Earth Day because I feel like it’s not representative enough for the campus, especially since we’re such a large campus,” Willett said. “I feel like people should know more about sustainability and should be aware of how they can incorporate sustainability in their lives.”
Willett wants this event to be fun and interactive for students as opposed to just a presentation on sustainability. She also hopes students gain a better understanding of sustainability and how they can incorporate it into their own lives.
“I want [students] to know how they can take up sustainable initiatives,” Willett said. “I want everyone to have a better understanding of how they can be environmentally friendly, even though campus might not represent that.”
Willett defines sustainability as incorporating things into one’s life that are environmentally friendly as well as benefit the environment and the individual, socially and fiscally.
“Just being conscious of your waste production and being conscious of how to reduce your waste consumption,” Willett said.
Willett stressed how important it is for students to make donations as well. Organizations, like Goodwill and Red Hawk Food Pantry, will be collecting donations. Students can contribute food, clothes and electronic waste products to the respective companies.
Truitt explained that though faculty, staff and corporate partnerships were present, student ambassadors deserve all the credit for bringing POI to Montclair State.
“POI is visiting Montclair State University and PSEGISS couldn’t be prouder,” Truitt said. “PSEGISS student sustainability ambassadors have taken the lead in coordinating the day’s events.”
Ariana Leyton is a Montclair State alumna and the media manager for PSEGISS. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sustainability science and a minor in communication studies.
Leyton hopes the POI tour allows students to gain a better understanding of PSEGISS and sustainability as a whole.
“People don’t realize that everything you do really can revolve around sustainability,” Leyton said. “It’s just being conscious about the decisions that you make and how that affects the Earth, other people and yourself in the long run.”