Tuesday, May 3, 2011

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University and Oxford Host Third Annual Green Week

Going Local=Going Green was part of the message of the University’s Office of Sustainability and the City of Oxford last week.

From Friday April 15th to Friday April 22nd the University and the City of Oxford took part in the community’s third annual Green Week celebration. The themed celebration is designed to fit the needs of the community every year, so no two week’s have ever been exactly the same. The theme selected for this year’s event was Go Local. Go Local was chosen to encourage students and Oxford residents to start working together to become more self-sufficient.

Green Week is designed to encourage students and city residents to interact with each other and truly develop new ways of doing things to promote the idea of being environmentally friendly. Throughout the week there were events ranging from a Vegetarian Potluck Dinner to a Bike to Campus Day. Every event put on by the Office of Sustainability was geared toward providing students and residents with information about small ways they can go green and in turn help the environment.

Along with promoting the ideas of being more eco-friendly, the purpose of Green Week was to promote students to give back to the community that has given so much to them. Through volunteering and aiding businesses around Oxford, students can find out more about the community around them and help support local businesses in the Oxford area.

Students and residents alike were encouraged to make pledges about small ways in which they can help be more environmentally friendly. Pledges ranging from a simple “recycle glass” to more time-consuming and intense ones such as “ride my bike around town whenever possible” were made. Participants were encouraged to share their individual pledges with others in order to be held accountable for their promises.

Being the third annual Green Week, many students were highly anticipating the festivities and were excited to promote the overall message of the event.

“The theme of Go Local really emphasizes the importance of sustainability. It’s important for us, as a university, to remember that we have the power to increase the number of people who understand the small ways they can each reduce their environmental impact,” said freshman Casey Holliday.

“Every week should be Green Week. I think celebrating the importance of keeping the planet as clean as possible is awesome. I’m definitely going to keep trying to spread the word about the easy ways to become ‘eco-friendly’,” said Devon Jones, a current student at the university.

As is the case with most events of this nature, while many students fully supported Green Week and all that it entailed, some were less enthusiastic about the idea of a week devoted to environmentalism.

“It is pure propaganda. There is no need to devote an entire week to this problem that doesn’t even exist. I’m tired of people shoving their ideas about the environment down my throat,” said junior Thomas Sutherlin.

While in the minority, students such as Sutherlin have the ability to hinder the growth of future events put on by the Green Week committee.

In 2009, the City of Oxford and the University of Mississippi formed a joint committee. This committee was formed to plan and implement Green Week, the first event of this kind for this are. The weeklong celebration proved to be so incredibly successful that the committee has continued planning Green Week every year since.

This year’s committee was comprised of representatives from the University of Mississippi, the City of Oxford, and leaders in the local community. The people were chosen ranged from the owner of a locally owned restaurant and bakery to the caretaker of a local organic farm, and an architecture and community design professional.

The committee consists of individuals with diverse backgrounds and complimentary talents that bring a depth of perspectives that would not be possible otherwise. All members of the committee work very hard on these community engagement programs to make a big impact in the community.

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