By: Madeline Marriott ’24

Beginning April 1, Lafayette College and the Office of Sustainability will celebrate Earth Month. 

The month is an extension of Earth Day, a yearly celebration held around the world on April 22. The day was originally created in 1970 when Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord Nelson set out to hold a teach-in about air and water pollution on college campuses. Earth Day activism and protests led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency in late 1970, and by 1990, the celebration had gone global. 

The Lafayette community has been involved in celebrating Earth Day since its advent in 1970 when over 50 students and faculty members spent the day participating in a trash cleanup along the Delaware and Lehigh rivers. 

Samantha Smith, the Office of Sustainability’s outreach and engagement manager, believes that the month’s festivities are the perfect time for all corners of the campus community to come together regardless of their previous experience with sustainability. 

“There are many ways different organizations across campus interact with sustainability whether they are obviously sustainability-related or not,” Smith says. “Earth Month is a great way for us to come together and celebrate those touch points and bring learnings to our broader community, who are all part of Lafayette’s journey to meet our commitment of carbon neutrality by 2035.” 

Smith hopes the planned events will make sustainability accessible to people across campus. “Some feedback we get from students is that they don’t know where to start in incorporating sustainability into their lives. Many of the event’s 28 organizations are planning to showcase sustainability behaviors and actions that are easy to incorporate into your life and share with your community,” she says. “Like taking the time to be outdoors and appreciate nature through LaFarm yoga, or upcycling your household waste into something beautiful through bird feeder making with Lafayette’s Tree House.”

The month’s activities will kick off April 3 with a keynote address from Melanie Lino, local baker and entrepreneur. Lino employs sustainable practices in several areas of her business, including local, ethical sourcing of her products. Smith hopes the event will “encourage students to include sustainability in whatever fields they pursue after college.” 

The event will include two sessions led by Lino: a bread baking demonstration 2-3:15 p.m. in the Bergethon Room and a keynote discussion of Lino’s career path and business practices 4:15-5:30 p.m. in Kirby 104. 

On April 7, the Eco Reps Leadership Program will host a Trashion Show, an event that encourages upcycling by having students compete to create and model outfits made out of trash. 

Lafayette’s biggest event of the month comes in the form of EarthFest, a campus-wide festival held on the Quad April 21. 

“EarthFest is our keystone event,” Smith says. “The whole month we’re bringing people together in different ways, but at EarthFest we all come together at one time. There’s a thrift store, tabling on the Quad. We bring in outside vendors with sustainability initiatives, and classes will showcase their final presentations and reports with sustainability themes.

“There will be food and music, and it’s really just this big celebration to mark the importance of the fact that all of these groups are part of that sustainable effort,” Smith continues. 

Amanda Kapitula ’23, a member of the Office of Sustainability’s outreach and engagement team, has been working to make sure a variety of campus and community voices are involved in EarthFest. 

“We definitely want environmental clubs involved, but sustainability is so much more than just environmentally focused clubs,” Kapitula says. “There are intersections with other types of interests and areas of study, so we’re trying to get diverse clubs and community organizations to participate by either having events or having a table at EarthFest.”

The month will end with a second keynote address, this one from Justin Kamine ’11, co-founder and co-CEO of Do Good Foods, an organization that works to reduce food waste in food production. This event will be April 25, 7-8:30 p.m. in Kirby 104. 

Several more events will take place throughout the month, planned by over 25 campus and community organizations, including a panel focused on native plants, yoga at LaFarm, a pop-up thrift store, and a discussion with Remy Oktay ’24 about his recent electric plane flyover during Rivalry Weekend. Read more about the full calendar of events.

Kapitula hopes the events will bring sustainability to the forefront of campus discussions.“It’s really important to make sustainability a visible component of campus culture because even though it’s being talked about more and more in our classes, it’s crucial to show people how their interests intersect with sustainability outside of the classroom as well,” she says. 

The Office of Sustainability’s guide to a sustainable April

Sustainable actions you can take this month:

  • Recycle plastics, metal, glass, paper, or cardboard. Learn more about recycling at Lafayette.
  • Bring reusable items when you leave your residence (shopping bags, mugs, water bottles, straws, utensils, etc.) and use a reusable eco-clamshell at Upper or Marquis.
  • Refuse disposable/single-use items when presented (plastic bags at checkout, individually packaged utensil packets).
  • Reduce paper usage by printing double-sided, using scrap paper, etc. 
  • Thrift for items instead of buying new. There will be a pop-up thrift store at EarthFest for you to thrift for the things you need! 
  • Purchase items with less/minimal packaging or buy in bulk.
  • Choose meals with environmental and social impacts in mind (without meat or less red meat, local, organic, fair trade).
  • Reduce personal food waste by not plating more than you can eat. 
  • Minimize water consumption (shorter showers, turning off water when brushing teeth, etc.)
  • Minimize energy consumption (unplugging devices and chargers when not in use, turning off lights when you leave the room, etc.). 
  • Seek out physical activity and green spaces on campus. 
  • Encourage your peers to adopt sustainable behaviors. 
  • Take action when you see issues in your residence hall or office space by submitting a work order (leaky faucets, waste and recycling bin placement/signage, etc.).

Ways for students to get involved with sustainability on campus:

Learn more from these resources:


  • The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History by Elizabeth Kolbert
  • The Humane Economy by Wayne Pacelle
  • Climate Justice: Hope, Resilience, and the Fight for a Sustainable Future by Mary Robinson
  • Wear No Evil: How to Change the World with Your Wardrobe by Greta Eagan
  • Diet for a Hot Planet: The Climate Crisis at the End of Your Fork by Anna Lappé
  • The Story of Stuff by Annie Leonard
  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver


  • Erin Brockovich (2000)
  • An Inconvenient Truth (2006)
  • The Lorax (2012)
  • There’s Something in the Water (2019)
  • Dark Waters (2019)
  • Mossville: When Great Trees Fall (2019)
  • The Candor and the Eagle (2019)
  • Remothering the Land (2021)
  • We the Power (2021) 


  • Sustainability Defined
  • The Good Dirt: Sustainability Explained
  • SustainabiliME
  • Costing the Earth
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