Monday, June 16, 2008

Sustainable Living Expo

I'm just now getting my act together by posting a couple of pictures taken at this weekend's Sustainable Living Expo.

I really didn't know what to expect at this event, which was hosted by 88.1 WVPE Public Radio, Notre Dame, and IU South Bend. And sometimes I think it's a blessing not to create any expectations, but to have an open mind and see what happens. Ok, I'll admit it - I've been experiencing some 'green fatigue' lately. It's just that I wonder if hosting and going to these festivals makes a positive difference in people's lives - I also wonder if it's just the same people going to these events. My larger concern is how to reach out to a broader group of citizens - who's being overlooked? What are the barriers that prevent more people from adopting a sustainable lifestyle?

With that in mind, I was pleasantly surprised and encouraged by the turnout. According to Anthony Hunt, Station Manager of WVPE, there were 1,000 people that attended the Expo. Wow! Of course, this picture doesn't do any justice because I took it pretty early on, but you can see that it was a pretty day on Saturday, which helped bring the masses to the festival.

And it was great talking to people who wanted to know more about how IU South Bend is adopting the principles of sustainability on campus. I spoke with a high-school teacher from California who was interested in BagFest. He really liked the picture of the bag pile. I told him that we filmed a documentary, which hopefully will be finished soon so that I can send him a copy. That way, he'll have a better idea on how the project began and what we did to raise awareness on the consumption of plastic bags. It also got me thinking how cool (i.e., educational, fun, and very important!) it would be to work with high-school students to engage in environmental action. That's a long-term goal I have - finally, maybe I can put my Master's in developmental psychology to use! :0)

In the meantime, however, I've been reaffirmed on the importance of sharing what's happening at IU South Bend. I'm very proud and humbled to join my colleagues in our quest to integrate sustainability with education.

So onward to this Saturday's Eco Fest in downtown South Bend!
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