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Salem State Celebrates Earth Days 2023 with a Focus on Climate Justice

1,000 SSU and Community Members Have Participated Thus Far

Happy Earth Day!

Salem State chose the theme “Climate Crises: Actions for a Just and Livable World” for its Earth Days celebration this year, reflecting widespread student alarm about climate change. SSU has already engaged 1,000 students, staff, faculty, alumni, and members of the larger community in Earth Days lectures, films and events, with one event still to occur. Participants learned about issues with a special focus on climate justice locally and globally with several events on the intersection of climate change, environmental justice, and public health. Local activists illustrated these issues with two events addressing the recent decision to site a new fossil-fuel “peaker” plant in neighboring Peabody, MA. Participants also learned about climate solutions with an Aquaponics demonstration, a group bike ride, and a celebration of Salem State’s two newest rooftop solar arrays.

Awards Ceremony

An Earth Days highlight was the award ceremony on Thursday, April 13 which honored student creative work addressing climate change. The Salem State Earth Days Committee also honored the Massachusetts Climate Action Network (MCAN) with a Friend of the Earth Award. This annual award celebrated MCAN’s dedication, determination, and effectiveness in supporting Massachusetts communities in addressing climate change at the local level. Interim Director Logan Malik accepted the award on MCAN’s behalf and gave impassioned remarks on the importance of community-level change as a stepstone for state and national action. He highlighted MCAN’s work on the Zero Carbon Renovation Fund and MCAN’s opposition to the Peabody Peaker plant-a fight, he cautioned, that MCAN might lose, but that has already resulted in an improved, more transparent approach to such infrastructure decisions.

First place winner in the writing category, student Natalie Fenoff, read her personal climate change reflection, imagining life in visibly changed Central Massachusetts with her future children, “climate migrants who won’t yet know the meaning of either word.” Participants also viewed winning student artwork, including this year’s special category for climate change-themed kites, and the accompanying artist’s statements concerning climate change, on the walls of Veterans Hall. Congratulations to all of the student winners who will receive cash awards donated by the Tefferteller Fund and the First Year Honor Society Alpha Lambda Delta.

Friend of the Earth

  • Massachusetts Climate Action Network

Visual Art 

  • First Place, Chanda Wallace, Lowell MA
  • Second Place, Caroline Canty


  • First Place, Megan Lynch, Beverly, MA
  • Second Place, Ashley Finocchiaro, Middleton, MA
  • Honorable Mention, Nayuta Nishijo-DiVirgilio, Lynn, MA

Written Reflection

  • First Place, Natalie Fenoff, Douglas, MA
  • Second Place, Bailey McCaul, Lynn, MA
  • Honorable Mention, AJ Torres, Peabody, MA

You can still participate!

  • Please visit the Earth Days page to find links to the video recordings for some of the Earth Days presentations.
  • Consider attending the student-run festival on the North Campus Quad on Saturday, April 22 from 12-3 pm with music, food, sustainable shopping and more.
  • Donate to our Crowdfunding page in memory of our colleague SSU Librarian Carol Zoppel, a long-time Earth Days champion, through Saturday, April 22.
  • You may also view photos of many of the events on social media:

    ·      Facebook: Salem State Sustainability

    ·      Instagram: @sustainable_ssu

Tara Gallagher
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