The third annual Green Week, a sustainability awareness celebration hosted by the University of Mississippi and the city of Oxford, kicks off April 15 and culminates with an Earth Day in the Park event April 22, 2012.
Coordinated through the UM Office of Campus Sustainability and various community organizations, the weeklong event offers a range of activities including a sustainability fair on the UM campus, an eco-fashion show at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center sponsored by Campus for Clean Energy and kid-tailored events such as after-school crafts and kids’ yoga.
“We specifically designed Green Week to include all ages because the issue of sustainability relates to everyone,” said Jim Morrison, director of the UM Office of Campus Sustainability. “It’s an issue that we all need to be involved and engaged in, so we have events specifically for young kids, families, college students, homeowners and business owners.”
Green Week begins at 5:30 p.m. April 15 with a vegetarian potluck at Honeybee Bakery. At 5:30 p.m. April 18, Oxford Mayor George “Pat” Patterson and Alice Clark, UM vice chancellor for research and sponsored programs, will deliver the Green Week keynote address on community sustainability efforts at the Powerhouse Community Arts Center. At this event, winners of the Sustainability Leadership Awards will be announced.
Another major Green Week event is the Sustainable Living by Design tour and expo, set for 9 a.m.-2 p.m. April 21 at Insight Park, the university’s new research park. The expo will feature sustainable products and techniques for home and business owners, while the tour will introduce participants to local green construction, including Rainbow Cleaners, the UM Medicinal Plant Garden and an eco-friendly residence.
“We hope to expose people to new ideas concerning sustainability,” said Katrina Hourin, Oxford assistant city planner. “I think of this more as taking a personal responsibility for our impact on the environment and trying to improve it. The events for younger groups are directed toward education, and with the older groups, it’s more about awareness. Not everybody is aware of the things that they can do that will benefit themselves and the whole community.”
Green Week closes with an Earth Day in the Park celebration April 22 at the Oxford Skate Park, the Oxford Community Garden and the Oxford-Lafayette County Library. Activities run 6 a.m.-7 p.m. and are free and open to the public. The events include yoga, gardening workshops, a “Plot to Plate” Picnic provided by Honeybee Bakery, music, a Double Decker bus tour and a children’s tea party at the library.
Created in 2009, Green Week celebrates the strides the university and Oxford have taken to raise environmental awareness. Successful joint initiatives include the Oxford-University Transit system, recycling programs and the installation of a community garden.
“Our goal this year is to reach people who haven’t necessarily been involved in sustainability in the past,” said Anne McCauley, project coordinator for the Office of Sustainability. “We hope participants realize that these are attainable lifestyle changes and practices. You don’t have to make huge sacrifices to change your lifestyle in a way that’s beneficial to yourself and the environment.”
For a full and updated schedule of events, visit http://olemiss.edu/greenweek.