In honor of Earth Day, the Office of Sustainability put on a film series throughout the month of April to educate students on a wide array of environmental issues.
“We decided to present a film series to create a space for the campus to come and experience these documentaries and also to make them accessible to the larger community,” said Dave Barbier, the sustainability coordinator for the Office of Sustainability. “This was a good way to go about raising awareness of important issues.”
These issues included everything from conserving natural resources to global warming.
“These problems intertwine with one another and we are trying to expand the lens to find productive solutions,” Barbier said. “Sometimes this means using shock and awe to smack these problems in people’s faces so they cannot argue that the issues exist.”
The documentaries that were shown include “Switch,” which focuses on energy issues and new solutions; “Elemental,” which follows three individuals and their motivation to protect natural resources; and “Chasing Ice,” which capped off the series with stunning images of glacial melting.
Barbier said that most of the movies were chosen through word of mouth or marketing outreach.
“We selected and viewed the three movies, then talked about sequencing them in the most productive way,” Barbier said.
A major goal of the film series was to reach students with issues that they may not be aware of.
“You always hear about how the climate and the environment are changing in science classes, but seeing the images strikes a different chord,” said junior wildlife major Katie Goplerud. “It really hits closer to home.”
“Chasing Ice,” the final film shown on April 22, was particularly hard hitting for students with its photography depicting the changes in glaciers over a span of years.
“This movie gave me a lot of new information,” said junior environmental education major Kristin Cluskey. “The glaciers are retreating a lot more than I thought.”
Barbier made it clear that not only is it important for students on a green campus to be aware of these environmental issues, but to be inspired to take initiative toward productive solutions when they graduate.
“We are trying to expand the vision and field of scope of how students look at environmental issues when they leave school,” Barbier said.
Barbier said the Office of Sustainability plans to make the sustainability film series a yearly event, but will perhaps hold it during winter to take advantage of the colder weather and draw in more viewers.