Binghamton University students and faculty held a zero-waste festival Friday to join in the worldwide celebration of Earth Day.
The free event, held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Dickinson Amphitheater, had Earth Day-related activities, food and music. Attendees took part in hands-on activities like tie-dying and seed planting. There was also a small-scale alpaca farm, exhibits from the Binghamton Zoo and a “clothing swap” table for people to donate and exchange gently used clothing.
Melissa Liberti, a member of Student Environmental Action Coalition (SEAC), said SEAC had a booth that featured a recipe for a non-toxic, environmentally friendly household cleaner.
“With this, we really wanted to show people that harsh chemicals are not the only option to a clean home and that environmentally friendly options are very much real, inexpensive and rewarding as well,” wrote Liberti, a junior double-majoring in sociology and environmental studies, in an email.
SEAC also had another booth that taught participants how to compost mushrooms.
“The first (white in color) was a Shataki mushroom growing on sawdust,” Liberti said. “The other mushroom was a Reyshi, growing on woodchips. One of our members, Tony, shredded down the mushroom to make little bags of a tea-like substance that is high in antioxidants. We also gave samples of that out to be used in tea.”
The Food Co-op, a student-run organization that offers alternative food choices at its shop in the Old University Union, also participated in tabling for the festival.
“We had a table, where we gave out free samples of granola, free iced teas and iced coffee,” said Russell Heiman, president of the Food Co-op and a senior majoring in management. “The Food Co-op provides organic products sourced as locally as possible for the campus community and community at large. This event provides us the opportunity to share with the campus community what we have to offer and let people know that we are an environmentally friendly option on campus for them to partake in.”
According to Liberti, there were also stations where attendees could bring plastic bags to exchange for reusable Binghamton University ones, get veggie burgers from Sodexo and drink non-hormonal chocolate milk from a dairy company.
“Overall, the sunny weather coupled with free food, live music and giveaways made for a nice afternoon,” Liberti wrote.
Jeanette Russo, a junior majoring in psychology, said she enjoyed the festival.
“I thought it was a great event celebrating Earth Day,” Russo said. “It was a beautiful day out too, so I think that more people were willing to go. I especially loved the petting zoo with the alpacas.”
Jennifer Hampton, a junior majoring in biology, said she thought the event was a lot of fun.
“I walked around all of the booths with a friend of mine,” Hampton wrote in an email. “My favorite was the I.D.E.A.S. booth where you could make your own seed bomb. A seed bomb is a combination of clay, dirt and two or three seeds that you can then simply drop on the ground and it will grow. I made one with sunflower seeds that I then dropped by the Nature Preserve.”