Published by the Students of Johns Hopkins since 1896
May 23, 2024

Office of Sustainability hosts Earth Fest on Keyser Quad

By NICK DAUM | April 24, 2024



Student gathered to participate in Earth Fest. Offerings included free plants, food and smoothies, which were blended by pedaling on a bike. 

The Office of Sustainability hosted the second annual Hopkins Earth Fest this past Friday, April 19 on Keyser Quad. Despite the rain, dozens of students gathered to celebrate. Stands for food, refreshments and other activities were located around the quad.

Earth Fest was held in April to commemorate Earth Month by highlighting the importance of sustainability and renewability in our community. Earth Day itself took place on Monday, April 22. 

The event included several interactive opportunities for students, including a bike that people could pedal to blend their smoothies. Paper passports were also handed out to students at a front table. If they collected stamps from all the Earth Fest stations, they received a free plant.

One student that attended the event, junior Galilee Best, expressed her enjoyment of the passport system at Earth Fest in an interview with The News-Letter.

“With the passport system, you walk around, going booth to booth. You go back, hand in your passport and you get a plant. I got a cute, little, sweet one,” she said. “I really like plants. I'm a big plant person, and it's a great time to start planting things.”

Through these passports, students were encouraged to explore the different tables at Earth Fest. Some included gluten-free pastries and drinks, while others were informative. All tables were hosted either by the Office of Sustainability or Hopkins clubs.

In an interview with The News-Letter, one of the main organizers of the event, sophomore Eden Teodorovici, explained the planning of Earth Fest and her work with the Office of Sustainability since the lifting of pandemic restrictions.

“This is our second year hosting [Earth Fest], and, last year, we really had to make an impact to make people remember what Earth Fest is all about,” she said. “This semester, we had more of a head start, as we had some experience. The planning that went into this included tying in everything that would engage the student body — like the smoothie bikes.”

Another organizer, sophomore Srigouri Oruganty, further commented on the collaborative nature of Earth Fest and highlighted other events hosted by the Office of Sustainability in an interview with The News-Letter

“A big part of Earth Fest is bringing together different clubs and organizations that are on campus and committed to sustainability. We wanted to give them a chance to get the word out about the work that they do,” she said. “We also have a stargazing sustainability event next Thursday [April 25] at the physics center.”

Teodorovici and Oruganty are both Environmental Science majors and engagement interns for the Office of Sustainability. They encouraged students to get involved with the campus clubs featured at EarthFest.

One of these clubs is Life in a Bottle, a project group by Sustainability Hopkins Initiative Projects. Life in a Bottle promotes renewable practices, including upcycling glass bottles on campus.

In an interview with The News-Letter, sophomore Kayla Rabey talked about Life in a Bottle’s activities in the Hopkins community and their stand at Earth Fest.

“What Life in a Bottle does is collect glass bottles from dining halls because they don't recycle bottles or glass on campus. We also accept student donations,” she said. “We offer this event [at Earth Fest] where you can take a bottle that's been cleaned, and you can decorate it with fairy lights, washi tape and flowers. You can then take it home and use it as home decor.”

Other stalls at Earth Fest provided information on sustainability practices at Hopkins and areas for improvement, such as greater investment in renewable energy on campus. Hopkins has already succeeded in decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by 51% since 2008, and members of Earth Fest encouraged administration to take further action.

Freshman Eva Breiland, an Applied Math and Statistics and Environmental Studies major, hosted a stall at Earth Fest with the Alternative Protein Project. In an interview with The News-Letter, Breiland explained the process of spherification and conducted a demonstration at her stall. 

“Spherification is a process where we use a seaweed derivative and drop it with red food dye. Then, we drop it in a vase of calcium chloride to create a gelatinous substance that we can use to texturize plant-based products like vegan eggs and vegan caviar,” she said.

Breiland also commented that she was interested in pursuing data analysis in the food space after college. With the Alternative Protein Project at Hopkins, she plans to continue research into protein substitutes to improve sustainability in food practices.

Organizers stated that Earth Fest will become a yearly tradition at Hopkins. The event was already hosted last year, and several hundred students showed up over the two hours that the event was open this year, even during heavy rainfall. 

In an interview with The News-Letter, freshman Beatrice Bustillo explained that she didn’t know about the event beforehand but was happy that she attended and took part in the activities.

“I didn't hear about [Earth Fest] until I saw it on the quad. I was curious and investigated, and it's a wonderful event with a lot of people who organized all these wonderful activities,” she said. “There's good music and good food. I love the environment.”

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