Fittingly, there were no cars in Parking Lot F3 as students, faculty, and an alpaca gathered Monday to celebrate Earth Day with a zero-waste festival.
Blue and yellow buckets were scattered throughout the lot to encourage recycling as musician Crow Weaver performed on his solar-powered stage. The festival also featured music, tabling by various clubs, environmental activities and free food and drinks from local vendors.
Sodexo Campus Services and the Office of Recycling and Resource Management sponsored the festival. John Enright, the executive chef on campus, personally served chia seed granola bars, Odwalla smoothie samples and Malibu garden burgers with mango pico de gallo on whole-wheat buns with a red pepper aioli.
“I can’t tell people how to eat,” Enright said. “But my green tip is just not to waste food.”
The Food Co-op also participated by offering rosemary bread and whole-wheat chocolate chip cookies to attendees. Aviva Friedman, a junior majoring in environmental studies, encouraged students to visit the Food Co-op and eat locally.
“This is the kind of stuff that we serve every day at hot lunch, so we’re trying to give a taste of that so people will be enticed to come visit us,” Friedman said.
In addition to Sodexo and the Food Co-op, local businesses such as PrOATS attended the festival to promote organic and local eating habits. Jeanine Sacco traveled from Ithaca to help promote the steel cut oatmeal that can be found in campus dining halls as a frozen product.
“SUNY Binghamton dining services has been supporting us for the last four years, so this is a way for us to give back to them and the campus,” Sacco said.
In past years, the festival was held in Dickinson Community by the Peace Quad; this year’s Earth Day festival included all of the same features as previous years, albeit fewer attendees.
“Honestly, it’s a little disappointing because there’s not as many people,” said Gina Taravella, a senior majoring in environmental studies.
Despite the poor turnout, attendees learned about implementing environmentally friendly habits into their daily lives.
“Be a conscious consumer — know where your food comes from,” Friedman said. “If it’s possible, go to a farmer’s market.”