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September 21, 2023

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No Impact Week encourages students to be more environmentally aware

Senior Josh Chamberland is glad he’s been able to organize No Impact Week, an event that encourages sustainability.

Chamberland worked with Director of Sustainability Nick Hennessey to participate in No Impact Week, which will start today and last until Sunday and will include events such as a trip to the wind turbines in Wood County and a talk about algal bloom by a University professor.

Campus Sustainability has seen support for the event among many University organizations, including USG, GSS, UAO and EAG, Chamberland said.

“To get all those groups together in one group activity is rare in any office,” Hennessey said.

No Impact Week was created by the No Impact Project. Universities can buy a $250 planning kit which includes a license to use the No Impact Experiment name, a planning guide, event ideas and flyer templates.

The No Impact Project was started by Colin Beavan, the author of “No Impact Man,” the common reading three years ago. Hennessey said he was inspired to do an event of this nature by the book.

“The common reading kind of started a new culture at BGSU in sustainability,” Chamberland said. “It started an awareness and since then it’s been snowballing.”

Hennessey said he’s glad the University recognizes Earth Week, but he thinks No Impact Week fills a different role.

“It’s sort of like an Earth Week but not the same,” he said. “It kind of has a little more focus on ways that you can have a serious impact on your carbon footprint.”

He said it’s important to have such an event in the fall rather than the spring because it creates good habits earlier with “a whole bunch of the year left.”

The goal of No Impact Week is for participants to experience what it’s like to live with less impact on the environment, Chamberland said.

Students can register for No Impact Week by going to the Campus Sustainability web page. When registering, Hennessey said students can choose what events or aspects they want to participate in.

“A lot of it is a personal journey,” he said.

Monday, Oct. 20 at 7 p.m. in the Union Theater, the documentary “Plastic Paradise” will be shown, which explores the Great Pacific garbage patch and what happens to plastic when it is thrown away. There will be a discussion about the film after it ends. Students can get Ziggy Points for attending, Chamberland said.

There will also be “Roaming Recycling” in residence halls between 5-9 p.m., in which students’ recyclables will be collected for residence hall-themed cash for entering raffles, Hennessey said.

Tuesday will be highlighting the Orange Bike Program, which is a community bike program that students must register for so they get a key to unlock bikes around campus.

On Wednesday there will be a vegan dining event hosted by Dining Services in the Union lobby from 12-1 p.m. and a “Thrift Store Event” at the Re-Store, in which students can trade an item or donate for things such as clothing, books and Halloween costumes.

There will be a tour of the wind turbines on Thursday. Buses from Campus Sustainability and the Geology Department will be used, Chamberland said. Students must register to attend as there are a limited number of seats. The buses will leave at 9:50 a.m. and will return shortly before 11 a.m.

Students can ask questions about the turbines as well as get up close and go inside them, Chamberland said.

A lecture by George Bullerjahn, professor of biological science, will be given on Friday in the Union room 207 at 5 p.m. He will be talking about toxic bacterial bloom in Lake Erie.

“As everyone remembers early in August the Toledo water system shut down,” he said. “This is the issue that’s really been brewing for a number of years.”

Bullerjahn said a student of Enrique Gomezdelcampo in the Department of Environment of Sustainability approached him about speaking for No Impact Week and he agreed to do so.

He will be talking about the causes of the blooms and how to treat water to protect the public. He will also tie in work in the Sandusky Bay being done by grad students in his lab.

One thing he wants to find out is the long term effects of the toxins on humans.

“What we don’t know is really what the long-term negative effects of toxin formation is,” Bullerjahn said.

The event will end Sunday with the “Eco-Sabbath,” in which students are encouraged to turn off electronics and lights and spend time by yourself or with family and friends.

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