Students celebrate Earth Day in October
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Who says Earth Day comes only once a year?

Not SF State’s ECO Students, an environmental studies organization whose “Every Day is Earth Day” event will begin six months after this year’s official day honoring the planet.

From Monday, Oct. 22 to Thursday, Oct. 25, the environmental student group and supporters will hand out free environmentally friendly treats like compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) and reusable cloth bags.

Activities like the “stuff swap” and Take Your Bicycle to School Day will show students clean and cheap alternatives to energy-intensive modern conveniences. Guest speakers ranging from SF State professors to local organizations will highlight environmental issues and acknowledge the university’s burgeoning interest in sustainability, said ECO Students member Suzanne McNulty.

The group’s second Earth Day celebration this year came about partly to introduce a couple new projects, McNulty said.

A program to collect used ink cartridges, CFLs, batteries and cellular phones for recycling will debut Monday at a table in the Quad. During the event’s four days, ECO Students will also collect worn tennis shoes. Afterward, bins collecting the other four items will be placed in the Student Center and other campus spots to be determined.

Another new feature is Thursday’s Take Your Bicycle to School Day, during which volunteers will valet and watch over bicycles on the Quad lawn. Members of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition will be on campus to give away bicycle lights and host workshops on repairs and local bicycle routes, according to Rachel Kraai, the coalition’s project manager.

Some ECO Students members are also part of the coalition, and the two groups have worked together over the last year to promote bicycling to and from SF State as a pollution-free alternative to driving a car, Kraai said.

“SF State isn’t a bike-friendly campus right now,” she said. With few bicycle racks and little support for bicycle traffic, supporting events like Take Your Bicycle to School Day underscores "the demand for a safe, dignified, delightful way to bike to SF State,” she said.

On each of the four days, from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., a “stuff swap” will allow people to leave unwanted things that could be reused—like clothes, books and CDs—and take anything others left behind. The activity, a holdover from previous ECO Students events, has been popular and successful before, said McNulty.

“It’s like a free flea market. It’s just a reminder that we don’t have to buy new [things] to get stuff that’s new for us,” she said.

This swap will be a little different, though, thanks to the Student Fashion Association (SFA). After finding a piece of clothing they like, people can bring it to the SFA’s table for free alterations, said McNulty. The group also hopes to collect interesting clothing itself for use in an upcoming fashion show using only sustainably made or reused fabric, said Danielle Cleveland, SFA treasurer.

ECO Students now plans to hold one Earth Day celebration each semester. “It seems like the right time. Why do we have to wait for Spring to celebrate Earth Day? Every day is Earth Day,” McNulty said.

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