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Salem State University will mark Earth Day with various events in April

Student research, beach cleaning, workshops on climate issues featured

Salem, Mass. – Salem State University students will celebrate Earth Day 2024 cleaning a local beach and hiking path and attending various environmentally focused discussions on topics such as coastal flooding and sustainable landscaping. The university will also honor a student with its Friend of the Earth Award.

The worldwide celebration of Earth Day is on April 22, but Salem State wanted to bring awareness to critical issues beyond just that one day. This year’s theme is “Climate Crises: Actions for a Just and Livable World.”

“One of our goals has been to continue to broaden our reach,” said Tara Gallagher, co-chair of the Earth Days planning committee. “In the past few years, we have been seeing students, faculty and staff representing an increasing number of departments and greater numbers of the public attending.”

An Earth Days awards ceremony is among the scheduled events, where Salem City Councilor Jeff Cohen and the Massachusetts Youth Climate Coalition will be honored on April 11. Junior Brielle Laurent will receive the Salem State University Student Friend of the Earth Award, given annually to a student for their sustained commitment, passion, and leadership in promoting environmental sustainability, addressing the climate crisis, or advocating for climate justice on campus and/or in their community. Winners of the student research poster contest and creative writing contests also will receive awards.

“There is increasing concern among students and also all members of the SSU community about climate justice and the impacts of a changing climate, particularly as our campus is located in a coastal community and vulnerable to flooding from increasingly violent storms and rising sea levels,” said Gallagher.

Other scheduled events:

  • April 8 – 19:

Students from the art and design department will display the minigolf holes they created with environmental sustainability in mind. Students can borrow a club from the library help desk and play the courseNorth Campus Quad next to the mural.

  • Monday, April 8:

Kevin Esvelt, associate professor and director of the Sculpting Evolution group at MIT, will speak on the "Evolution, Ethics and Engineering Wild Mice to Stop Lyme Disease,” 9:25 – 10:40 am, Ellison Campus Center, Veterans Hall. 

Earth Days student research poster viewing, 11 am – 12:15 pm. Ellison Campus Center Veterans Hall.

  • Tuesday, April 9:

Recorded talk: “From Air to Makeup: Addressing Environmental Justice in the U.S.” Micaela Martinez, director of environmental health at WE ACT for Environmental Justice, New York City, 12:30 – 1:45 pm, Ellison Campus Center, Martin Luther King, Jr.    Room.

“Legal Action for Climate Justice: A Global Movement,” 1:30 - 2:30 pm via Zoom. Benjamin Franta, senior research fellow in climate litigation at the Oxford Sustainable Law Programme, and founding head of the Climate Litigation Lab. Register here.

Students from the BioSociety, Scuba Club, Greenhouse Club, and SACNAS participate in a cleanup at Forest River Park Beach, 4:30 - 5:30 pm.

  • Wednesday, April 10:

Geology students in the Earth Science Association (ESA) club will hike the Forest River Conservation Area and clean the trail, 4 – 5:30 pm.

  • “Climate, Justice, and the Economy: Imagining an Equitable and Sustainable Future; A Public Conversation with Avi Chomsky,” 6:30 – 8 pm, Marsh Hall Petrowski Room. Chomsky, a Salem State history professor, and author of “Is Science Enough? Forty Critical Questions about Climate Justice,” joins Salem State Professor Noel Healy, PhD, geography and sustainability, for the discussion. Register here.
  • Thursday, April 11

Addressing Climate and Environmental Crises through Art and Activism with Katie Pustizzi and Lonnie Stanton, 9:25 –10:40 am, Charlotte Forten Hall (formerly Viking Hall) Room 123.

“Saving our Shoreline: Resilient Coasts in Salem,” Barbara Warren, executive director of Salem Sound Coastwatch 10:50 am – 11:50 am, Ellison Campus Center, Martin Luther King, Jr. Room.

Sustainable Landscape Panel, 12:15 -1:30 pm, Martin Luther King, Jr. Room. Salem State professors Nick Geron, PhD, geography and sustainability, and Lisa Delissio, PhD, biology, to discuss their work with the Greening the Gateway City Program and the Sargent Arboretum, respectively. Moderated by the Sustainability Council interns. 

Earth Days Awards Ceremony, 5:30 - 6:30 pm, Charlotte Forten Hall (formerly Viking Hall) Room 123.

  • Friday, April 12

Film “Inundation District” followed by a discussion with Pulitzer Prize-winning Director David Abel.  This film tackles the intersection of Boston’s development of the Seaport District in the face of rising seas. 12:15 - 2:15 pm, Veterans Hall. 


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