Dickinson College
Dickinson College Dickinson College

April 19, 2009

Students create tie-dye shirts at the annual EarthFest celebration.

Organic treats, entertainment and a progressive air drew a small crowd of students to the 2009 EarthFest celebration.

Organized by Amnesty International and EarthNow, the annual festival educates participants about sustainability and human-rights issues in a fun and inspiring way.

At this year's event, students enjoyed interactive displays—including Village in Action educational games, a tie-dye station, a mural and chalk display and a video-recording project—as they sampled organic food and grooved to music by bluegrass band Special Consensus and guitarist and vocalist Ben Martinez '08.

Other attractions included a presentation by Mark Dixon from Your Environmental Road Trip (YERT) a performance by the Silent Poets, The Wild & Scenic Environmental Film Festival and a Fare Wares market, where students could purchase fair-trade goods..

"I thought Mark Dixon from YERT and the Wild and Scenic Film Festival both showed the audience how other Americans are being sustainable, showing that it is possible and easy to have sustainable lifestyle," Elise Rodriguez '11, an environmental studies major who helped coordinate the event.

Students also were inspired by an address by Nigerian civil-rights activist Omoyele Sowore.

Sowore, who currently lives in America, was repeatedly tortured and imprisoned by the Nigerian government for his political writings and demonstrations. He spoke to Dickinson students about global governance and the ways that multinational oil companies have exploited his countrymen. Then he challenged students to further educate themselves about, and take a stand against, international injustices.

The festival was part of a weeklong, campus-wide celebration of the 39th-annual Earth Day.

Click on image to view larger photo.

Students participate in EarthFest. The festivities had unofficially kicked off the previous evening, when approximately 15 students had unplugged their appliances and turned off all lights before enjoying s'mores and low-tech entertainment under the stars.

Fair-trade vendors and related student organizations manned stands at the festival.

Reusable water bottles such as those shown above are helpful tools for bottled-water devotees who wish to reduce their impact on the environment.

Newly created tie-dye shirts dry in the sun. This free-spirited American fashion dates back to 1965, when an executive hired by the then-failing Rit Dye company first marketed tie-dye shirts to Greenwich Village hipsters, opening up a new market for the struggling dye company.

Students ate local, grass-fed burgers, veggie burgers and locally produced cheese, provided by SISA (Students Interested in Sustainable Agriculture), and salad, provided by the Dickinson College Farm.

Text by MaryAlice Bitts
Photos by John E. Jones IV '11