Sunday, April 16, 2017

EARTH WEEK: HISTORY & 2017 SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

            As you might imagine, Earth Day/Week is one of our favorite times of the year here at SECS. While we might be pretty much always thinking about the planet and how much it means to us, this one week in April gives us the chance to go all out in celebrating Earth and educating others about all the grave threats it faces. But aside from getting us hippies even louder than usual, what is Earth Day all about? To answer that question, let’s talk a little bit about the history of this great day.
On April 22nd, 1970, twenty million Americans flooded the streets, demanding a clean and sustainable environment. This was a culmination of a shift in attitudes that began well over one hundred years prior, but truly; this first Earth Day had spent just eight years in the making. In 1962, marine biologist and conservationist Rachel Carson published her book Silent Spring, which made millions of Americans aware for the first time of the damage we were inflicting on our planet. Popular discontent continued to grow over the next few years, and after witnessing the horrors of the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson spearheaded an effort to plan a “national teach-in on the environment,” which became Earth Day. The success of Earth Day led to the passing of the Clean Air and Water Acts, and from then on environmentalism continued to define the social zeitgeist of the 1970s. Unfortunately, throughout the next decades, the environment became an increasingly partisan topic in politics, and so both environmentalism and Earth Day declined in popularity.

You probably know this if you’re reading this blog, but today the threats our planet is experiencing are just about as dire as they’ve ever been. Because of this, Earth Day is more important than ever. Thankfully, SECS has a full schedule of events for this Earth Week, all of which are very significant opportunities for you all to make a difference, whether by learning more about what you can do to be more sustainable or by making your voice heard to demand action- just as the twenty million who marched on the first Earth Day did. Read on for a rundown of all of our events, and we hope to see you at as many of them as possible!


MONDAY 4/17

Alternative Facts: Fact or Fiction?  |  11am-2pm, Main Quad
Join us and the Green Observer on the Quad to spin our environmental facts wheel, and take your best guess at what is fact and what is fiction! A great chance to get up to date on what our politicians are doing about the environment- and also to win some awesome prizes. Hosted by SECS and the Green Observer.
SECS Repurposing Workshop  |  6pm-8pm, YMCA Murphy Lounge
We'll be doing some demonstrations on how you can reuse things that you would normally throw away, making face scrubs, soaps, household products and more! There will be some snacks made from food 'scraps' that you'd usually toss, like potato chips. Join SECS' Education Committee to find some new uses for the things you would normally throw away. Hosted by the SECS Education Committee.

TUESDAY 4/18
BikeFace Fix-It Day  |  10am-2pm, Main Quad
Is your bike in need of some tender love and care? Needs a spring tune-up? Look no further than the the BikeFace Fix-It Day! We'll be on the quad doing tune ups for a fraction of what it would cost at a professional bike shop! Come by, drop off your bike, and let us take care of it! Hosted by BikeFace.
SECS Environmental Expo  |  11am-2pm, Illini Union Room B
Are you interested in learning more about sustainability and engaging environmental efforts? If so, come to our fifth annual Environmental Expo for a chance to network with environmental RSOs, related majors and departments, local organizations, and sustainable businesses. Hosted by the SECS Sustainable Business committee.
This is a sequel to our successful first Our Earth event. At Our Earth 2.0, we will focus on grassroots activism: what it is, who to contact, and how to join us in our canvassing efforts for UIUC to reach carbon neutrality by 2033. Also, there will be plenty to learn about the following issues: Problems with Pipelines, Carbon Tax, Renewable Energy, Sustainable Living, and Direct Action. Hosted by the SECS Political Action Committee.

WEDNESDAY 4/19
BikeFace Chancellor Ride  |  9am-10am, starting at the Campus Bike Center
Join us on a bike ride with Chancellor Robert J. Jones! Explore some of University of Illinois' finest bike paths and bike lanes with our University's newest leader. Together, we can weather all the bumps ahead. Hosted by BikeFace.
BikeFace Fix-It Day, Day 2  |  10am-2pm, Main Quad
Is your bike in need of some tender love and care? Needs a spring tune-up? Look no further than the the BikeFace Fix-It Day! We'll be on the quad doing tune ups for a fraction of what it would cost at a professional bike shop! Come by, drop off your bike, and let us take care of it! Hosted by BikeFace.
SECS Annual Clothing Swap  |  11am-4pm, YMCA Latzer Hall
For our annual clothing swap, the YMCA is going to be turned into a thrift shop- if you have already donated clothes, you are free to come and pick out as many items as you donated. If not, the clothing will also be on sale for cheap prices! If you would still like to donate, you can bring your clothes to any of our Monday or Tuesday events (we ask that you put the clothes in a bag along with a piece of paper labeled with your name, email, and number of items), or you can drop off clothes in Allen Hall’s front lobby where there is a collection bin set up until 3pm on Tuesday. All leftover items will be donated to an undecided organization following the swap.
SECS General Meeting  |  6:30pm-7:30pm, YMCA
Just like any other week, we will be having our regular meeting on Wednesday night at the YMCA!

THURSDAY 4/20
SECS Plant Sale  |  11am-3pm (or until supplies run out!), Main Quad
Want to add some greenery to your dorm or apartment? Stop by the Quad to pick up some plants, we'll be selling various herbs and succulents! Hosted by the SECS Education Committee.
Fossil Free UIUC  |  11am-2pm, Main Quad
Join Beyond Coal this Earth Week for some fossil fuel related activities and demos! We will be discussing pipelines, coal, divestment campaigns, and our new initiative: Fossil Free UIUC. Hosted by Beyond Coal.
Film Screening: Before the Flood  |  7pm-9pm, Channing Murray Foundation
Join us to watch Before the Flood, Leonardo DiCaprio’s award-winning documentary about climate change.

FRIDAY 4/21
Veggie Burger Cook-Off  |  4pm-8pm, Illini Grove
Bring your best veggie burger recipes and compete to win our veggie burger cook-off. Don't forget to bring your appetite and friends along to wind down from a successful Earth Week. Winners will receive bragging rights until next year!

Monday, March 13, 2017

HUMANS OF SECS: ANNA TSANG

What do you know, it’s time for another Humans of SECS! This is Anna Tsang, who is one of our Political Action co-chairs. Anna is a senior studying Environmental Economics and Policy. She has been a member of SECS for two years, and a Political Action chair since the beginning of this school year. Outside of SECS, she is also a Marketing Intern for the Student Sustainability Committee. Anna has interned with the Sierra Club in Washington D.C. and for Illinois State Senator Scott Bennett during her time at UIUC.



I realized I wanted to dedicate my life to protecting the environment when I was in high school. I believe that animals are the minority of our society who don't have a right to vote or a voice to express their struggles. So, my role is to fight against the injustice done to wildlife who are pushed out of their own habitat to point of extinction.” 


Photographs by Maggie Golden