Earth Day brings conscientious groups together

The Ben Miller Band performs during the Earth Day celebration April 19. The International Ecolonomics Student Association organized the event.

Kristin Wilfing

The Ben Miller Band performs during the Earth Day celebration April 19. The International Ecolonomics Student Association organized the event.

Several student organizations came together and brought a new cover to Missouri Southern.

The International Ecolonomics Student Association organized Earth Day events to help the student body understand some of the issues prominent in environmental studies today.

Dr. John Knapp, professor of geophysics, said Earth Day is an event which should bring information to the student body.

“There are a lot of things people think Earth Day people are about saving lizards or something,” he said. “It’s really about the people.”

He said the campus could come together and help students understand more about recycling, reusing and conservation.

One example, he said was from the Environmental Issues class presented an alternative to incandescent lights. He said fluorescent lights were more efficient and provided more light in some instances.

“Earth Day people are trying to improve the standard of living,” Knapp said.

Robert Wood, director of the Institute of Ecolonomics, helped the IESA where he could, but said most of the work was done by the students.

“They worked really hard to put this together,” he said. “They did this not for a class, not for credit and not for money; they did this because it is something they love.”

Wood said he was proud of the students and hoped their work would be seen by other organizations.

“It’s not everyday you see something like this,” he said.

The event, held from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 19 on the oval, featured games, booths with free gifts and live music. The Ben Miller Band performed for the last half of the time.

Organizations represented included the Joplin Recycling Center, the Biology Club, the Environmental Health Club and others.

“We set up a hazardous waste collection site down by the football field,” said Laura Hunter, senior environmental health major and vice president of the Environmental Health Club. “It’s a good way to get the club out there.”

She said the Earth Day events bring more students out to learn about the club’s cause.

“It’s a chance for the individual to learn to protect, preserve and conserve,” she said. “There’s always a chance to learn something about it.”

Tracy Mayfield, junior environmental health major, said she would like students to know there is more available than the usual conservation campaigns, but the message will always remain.

“We just need a general understanding of how to control waste,” Mayfield said. “We share three commons with everyone else – water, air and space.”

The event featured several views on environmental health.

“There are a lot of environmental aspects to vegetarianism,” said Constance Everitt, alumni.

She was at the event promoting the Vegan Outreach newsletter. The newsletter offers readers several reasons how becoming a vegan could help the environment.

“Mostly it’s from factory farming,” Everitt said.

She has been coming to the event for four years and said it has been worthwhile.

“I like it,” she said. “I have a good time, and I get to talk to a lot of people. In previous years I’ve had people talk about getting a pamphlet the year before and they’ve changed over to vegetarianism.”

Mark Ostendorf, junior general studies major, was helping to display hybrid vehicles for the IESA.

Two of the vehicles were Toyotas, a Prius and a Highlander. A Honda Accord was also on hand, but it was not a hybrid.

“They are just selling so fast, we couldn’t get one,” Ostendorf said.

The Toyotas feature an idle-less stop and an average of 60 miles per gallon. They also have a continuously-variable transmission which keeps them from lagging during gear changes.

“If I wasn’t on a college budget, I’d get one of these,” Ostendorf said.

Students walking through the events said it was a well-done event and hoped others took something from the booths.

“People need to be informed about it (Earth Day),” said Katelyn Sealy, freshman undecided major. “It shouldn’t be just one day.”