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Earth Week begins as students initiate series of activities

Earth Week debuts today, and environmentally active students hope to show that recycling and clean-water campaigns should rustle the flag-flying on top of Nassau Hall.

"We're very ambitious, and this is far more than what we did last year," said event coordinator Mike Wendschuh '99.

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This is the second consecutive year University students have collaborated to usher in Earth Day, April 22, the worldwide celebration of environmental awareness.

The Earth Day celebration will take place throughout campus, with activities in Firestone Plaza, Poe Field and even the 'Street.' Because student participation in past years has been low, organizers have made this year's events more appealing.

Encourage student turnout

"For student organizations to do anything for the environment is virtually impossible so we don't get very good turnouts," Wendschuh said. For example, tomorrow evening's themes are "Bring Your Own Mug to The Street" and "Zero-Impact Party: Get Wasted W/O the Waste."

"I'm not sure how much it will do for the environment, but I'm sure it will get people out," Debbie Freedman '01 said.

Terrace Club will host the "Zero-Impact Party" to encourage students to have "an environmentally friendly" night. For the party, the eating club will not use paper plates, cups or even electricity. Instead, students will party by candlelight, Wendschuh said.

"We're just showing the kids at Princeton you can still have a good time at the 'Street' and be environmentally responsible," he said.

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Wendschuh said he believes that University students should not leave campus without some type of exposure to environmental awareness.

"It's really easy to go through Princeton without any environmental component in your education," he said.

University involvement

He also said he laments the fact that this week's production is completely student-run.

"If it weren't for us, there wouldn't be an Earth Day, and that's pathetic. It's a shame that it's all (put on) by students," he added.

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However, Wendschuh did express gratitude for the grants he received from many academic departments and the President's office.

The week's events will also feature a canoe trip in the Delaware and Raritan Canal and a cleanup hike on Mount Tammany led by Outdoor Action leaders.

Environmental bands

Next Wednesday will be the culmination of the week's activities when student organizers will host local and international bands, with one traveling from New York and another from Brazil.

"We're bringing in bands that have an environmental message," Wendschuh explained.

"It's going to be so loud, so big they're not going to be able to have classes in East Pyne," he joked.

About 30 students, many of whom are members of Princeton Environmental Action, have been preparing for this event for the past two months, according to Ben Runkle '00, a PEA co-leader.

Last week student environmental activists spraypainted wooden signs that they recycled from past Shakespeare campus plays. The signs encourage students to come out and support the cause of environmentalism.

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