Tech Leading the Way on Earth Day

The Southeast's largest Earth Day event continues, as Georgia Tech's annual celebration on April 17 caps off a week's worth of sustainability themed initiatives and events.

Tech's 12th annual Earth Day Celebration, set for April 17 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., aims to improve on past years in every way, showcasing the Institute as a sustainability leader, in keeping with this year's theme of "Lead the Way - Tomorrow is Today."

Established Earth Day events will be open to the community, such as the clothing swap, electronics recycling, an office supply exchange, Earth Day maze, live music and shoe recycling. According to Cindy Jackson, chairman of the Earth Day Committee and manager of the Office of Solid Waste Management and Recycling, several new initiatives are on tap for this year.

In fact, she says, this year the Earth Day planning committee has worked to make the celebration as close to a "zero-waste" event as possible. Jackson has secured solar power generator supplier Tree Power and Sound for several events during Think Green Week - the Green Rally and Battle of the Bands - which precedes the Earth Day celebration. While the company is unavailable for April 17, Jackson says she will work to ensure that future celebrations include solar or biodiesel power when available.

"It's amazing to see the progress we've made," Jackson said. "This year, we're serving organic popcorn with biodegradable bags, wrist bands made from recycled silicone and a record number of 72 booth attendees."

Booths this year include the Atlanta Bicycle Campaign, Chattahoochee Nature Center, Eco Moto, Green Buzz, Intown Bicycles, Trees Atlanta, Zipcar and other sustainable groups, as well as Institute and student organizations.

The first 1,000 attendees will receive reusable water bottles, and everyone who completes the maze will receive a Tech Earth Day T-shirt. Two stations will be set up at the event, where attendees can make a personal environmental commitment and register for a bicycle, to be given away at the Earth Day Celebration. Members of the Tech community can register for the prize at the Institute's sustainability Web site, www.greenbuzz.gatech.edu.

New this year, a farmer's market will allow local organic food vendors to sell their produce. Attendees are encouraged to bring their own water bottles, as no cups will be available at the hydration stations in an effort to cut down on event waste.

Think Green Week kicks off with a Green Rally on April 13 at the campanile from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. President and Mrs. Peterson will address the crowd at noon. All members of the Tech community are invited to attend, and are encouraged to wear green.

For the first 1,000 attendees, giveaways include reusable water bottles, wristbands, fluorescent light bulbs, recycled tote bags and organic popcorn.

On April 14, Georgia Tech Students Organizing for Sustainability (SOS) presents the Sustainable Fashion Show at the campanile.

On April 15, Walt Disney Co.'s independent film label Disneynature will sponsor a free, public screening of its new film "earth," at 7 p.m. at the Atlantic Station Regal Cinema. A limited number of tickets will be available to Tech students, faculty and staff on the Institute's eMarketplace, accessible through the BuzzCard Web site. Stinger shuttles will carry attendees from the Student Center to Atlantic Station, and will return them to campus after the movie.

A panel discussion on environmental justice will be held in the Student Center Ballroom from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on April 16. Tech's Emerging Leaders will hold a battle of the bands competition from 5 to 11 p.m., and the Environmental Alliance at Georgia Tech will present a free screening of the documentary "Flow: For the Love of Water," from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

Sponsors include the Brook Byers Institute for Sustainable Systems, Coca-Cola, Georgia Tech Research Institute, the College of Sciences, the Center for Organic Photonics and Electronics, Office of the Provost, Caterpillar, Allied Waste, Pratt Industries and Disneynature.

The Georgia Institute of Technology is one of the world's premier research universities. Ranked seventh among U.S. News & World Report's top public universities and the eighth best engineering and information technology university in the world by Shanghai Jiao Tong University's Academic Ranking of World Universities, Georgia Tech’s more than 20,000 students are enrolled in its Colleges of Architecture, Computing, Engineering, Liberal Arts, Management and Sciences. Tech is among the nation's top producers of women and minority engineers. The Institute offers research opportunities to both undergraduate and graduate students and is home to more than 100 interdisciplinary units plus the Georgia Tech Research Institute.