Earth Fest activities

JenkStar solar powered DJs pumped up Earth Fest with music Thursday afternoon in the Union Plaza. The event was organized as a celebration to wrap up the U’s Earth Week. The U offered bike valet services at the event to encourage cycling. Photos by Jonathan Royce / The Daily Utah Chronicle

N-Earth-Week-3_DSC7679
N-Earth-Week-2_DSC7670JenkStar solar powered DJs pumped up Earth Fest with music Thursday afternoon in the Union Plaza. The event was organized as a celebration to wrap up the U’s Earth Week. The U offered bike valet services at the event to encourage cycling.
Photos by Jonathan Royce / The Daily Utah Chronicle

The sidewalks of the Union Plaza were lined with tables and booths Thursday afternoon as representatives from sustainability-focused campus and community organizations joined in the Earth Fest celebration that wrapped up the U’s Earth Week.
A food truck manned by employees of Dining Services sold sustainably sourced street tacos, pickles, apple cider and grilled veggie kabobs. Several friendly dogs and their owners meandered around the tables while DJ Solar, a group that plays music from giant solar-powered amps and speakers, kept the mood festive with constant fast-paced music.
One purpose of Earth Fest was to provide passersby with information about groups working to promote sustainability at or near the U. Community groups including the Citizens Climate Lobby, University Student Clean Air Network and Wasatch Community Gardens all came to the event.
In addition, several campus-based groups showcased their services at the celebration.
Earth Fest featured free bike valet parking provided by Commuter Services. The bike valet program started last football season and functions like a coat check. Cyclists drop off their bikes at a station manned by Commuter Services staff and student volunteers and receive a pick-up ticket. While the bike owner enjoys the football game, the bike valet staff put a tag on the bike and stores it on fenced-off racks until the owner claims it.
At Earth Fest, Commuter Services’ bicycle coordinator Heidi Goedhart was excited to tell people the bike valet service will be available at all of the on-campus farmers’ markets next Fall Semester.
“People that are rolling through campus can valet park their bike while they’re at class that day,” Goedhart said. “Or if they’re … checking out all the vendors at the farmers market, they can just leave their bike with us and not have to worry about finding a bike rack or bringing a lock.”
Katie Hunt, the sustainability coordinator for Chartwells Dining Services, invited Earth Fest attendees to learn about the composting program she helps run by providing fruit and vegetable scraps and toothpicks used to build sculptures. Hunt stood behind a table filled with these creations and invited passersby to come build more sculptures.
Hunt said the unusual activity encourages people to pay attention to and better understand a sustainability initiative that can easily be missed.
“This compost stuff happens behind the scenes so much, literally in the kitchen … that this is the first time for a lot of people to even know that we’re doing it,” Hunt said. “They can see the actual food that we’re using, too. It’s not dirty, yucky food, but whole pieces [of fruits and vegetables].”
Allison Boyer, a junior in environmental and sustainability studies and the sustainability representative for ASUU, headed a station where students recycled by transforming outdated vinyl banners into messenger bags.
“[ASUU] has been trying to keep [and] make banners so we can keep them for longer periods of time,” Boyer said. “We don’t put dates on them and try to make advertising really uniform. But the ones that we can’t help but put dates on we reuse by making vinyl bags.”
Prior to Earth Fest, events spotlighting environmental consciousness had been occurring throughout the week, including several documentary screenings, a sustainability symposium Monday and a lecture by author Richard Register on Tuesday evening.