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April 12, 2013
CONTACT: Gordon Ovenshine

'Earth Days 2013' programming stresses personal responsibility

SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. -Slippery Rock University's "Earth Days 2013" program includes sustainability-focused activities to further educate the next generation of environmental leaders - students - about resource conservation, green energy and climate change.

Events include lectures, sustainability presentations, films, nature hikes, Recyclemania competition and an Earth Day Festival and Carnival. "Earth Days 2013" began April 6 and continues through April 27.

Paul Scanlon, SRU special assistant to the president for sustainability planning and operations, said SRU graduates would face a different world in the next few decades as natural resources dwindle. To confront these challenges, SRU is preparing graduates to be engaged citizens and problem-solvers.

"In a world of diminishing resources, ever-increasing fuel prices and the threat of ever-strengthening climate disruptions, energy and resource-conserving behavior will become more and more important for today's students and tomorrow's leaders," he said.

Three programs April 23 offer "fun" learning activities, he said. An Earth Day Festival, from 12:30-1:30 p.m. at the SGA Gazebo, on the Quad will include a biodiesel tractor demonstration, a canned goods collection drive and an opportunity for participants to buy a small dessert with proceeds supporting international vaccinations.

An Earth Day Carnival will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Quad. Sponsored by SRU's Robert A. Macoskey Center for Sustainable Systems Education and Research, it will include sustainability-theme games, educational displays, and a paint-a-Frisbee program. The first 100 students at the carnival will be able to paint and take home a Frisbee.

AVI Fresh, SRU's contracted food vendor, will offer a "Beehive Cooking" demonstration as part of the Carnival.

Scanlon said the "Earth Days 2013" program complements SRU's academic programs emphasizing the implementation of sustainability in daily living.

"Our faculty and programs that promote energy awareness, sustainability and behavioral change are really teaching basic life skills to today's students," he said. "They'll take these skills to their future homes and businesses when they graduate, and their background in energy and sustainability is going to help them land better jobs. For just about any job you interview for these days, there will be some kind of corporate interest in sustainability, conservation and/or recycling. If you have something on your resume that says you've gained experience in these fields, you'll have a leg up on the next person."

"Plus, as SRU President Cheryl Norton is fond of saying, 'Sustainable living is just the right thing to do,'" he said.

One of the broad themes of "Earth Days 2013" is educating students about climate change and behavior that could help reduce greenhouse gases, which 97 percent of the world's climate scientists now believe cause global warming and the resulting climate changes.

"The most cost effective way to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions contributing to global warming is to conserve energy in our existing buildings and transportation systems to reduce the demand for electricity and other sources of fossil-fuel emissions," Scanlon said. "Energy conservation can be our 'transitional fuel,' reducing the need for fossil fuels by 30 percent or more, while we transition to more renewable energy sources in the future. One huge side benefit of energy conservation is that almost all the materials used are made in the USA, and all the labor has to be local labor - it's not something you can outsource."

A complete calendar of Earth Day 2013 events and description of the program activities may be found at; all events are free and open to the general public.

Slippery Rock University is Pennsylvania's premier public residential university. Slippery Rock University provides students with a comprehensive learning experience that intentionally combines academic instruction with enhanced educational and learning opportunities that make a positive difference in their lives.