Colgate Celebrates Sustainability with 13 Days of Green

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Colgate University’s annual celebration of sustainability, the 13 Days of Green, kicked off on April 10 this year. The event series, organized by the Office of Sustainability and now in its 14th year, engages the campus community in educational and entertaining activities centered around environmental awareness and action.

Despite the rainy weather, the kickoff festivities persisted with a vibrant celebration in the Coop Media Lounge. Attendees listened to music from the student band Children at Play while enjoying low-waste treats such as Maxwell’s ice cream with green sprinkles. (“It’s low waste because you eat the cone,” explained one sustainability intern in charge of scooping the gluten-free mint chip.)

Lined up at tables around the room, various green campus organizations dedicated to sustainability and the environment offered opportunities for students to learn how they could get involved. From Athletics Sustainability Liaisons with their basketball-themed “document dunk” table showing the prevalence of paper waste, to the Colgate Community Garden with their succulent potting and decorating station, there was something for everyone interested in promoting a greener campus.

Perhaps one of the most crowded tables at the event belonged to the Students for Environmental Action (SEA) with their bake sale for the oncilla, a Central and South American wildcat threatened by habitat loss and human activity. Partnering with the Colgate Baking Club, this group was able to sell more than 100 brownies and gluten-free cookies, raising $330 for The Oncilla Track conservation project.

Throughout the remaining 12 days, students had the opportunity to further explore sustainability and the environment through forest meditation sessions at Chapel House, a sustainable art party with Gate After Dark, and panel discussions with experts such as Colgate artist-in-residence Jackie Sumell and environmental science and forestry PhD candidate Sarah Nahar at The Locker Room exhibition.

One standout event was the green-themed day of service on April 13, during which students partnered with local organizations such as the Colgate Community Garden, Spring Farm CARES Nature Sanctuary, and Wolf Mountain Nature Center for full days of garden preparation and trail maintenance. This annual hands-on approach to environmentalism allowed volunteers to directly contribute to creating a more sustainable future for Colgate and the greater Hamilton community. 

The culmination of the series on April 22 was marked by the Oak Awards ceremony, honoring outstanding contributions to sustainability on campus, and an Earth Day bird walk led by Director of Sustainability John Pumilio and Assistant Director of Sustainability Julia Sparks along the many trails that wind through Colgate’s back-campus.