Eco fair helps Fisher learn how to act sustainably

About 15 organizations set up on LeChase Commons with information about more sustainable living. (Photo by Meleah Hartnett)

By Meleah Hartnett staff writer

Local businesses promoting sustainability gathered on LeChase Commons at St. John Fisher College on Tuesday Oct. 9, ready to educate students and faculty about the importance and effects of sustainability.

They were part of a “go green” fair hosted by St. John Fisher College’s Center for Sustainability  with roughly 15 stations, all presenting information on how to be more eco-friendly and the impact of decisions made regarding sustainability. The booths ranged from educational demonstrations to coffee and local produce stands.

Students could charge mobile phones or other devices using solar energy at the Green Spark Solar information booth. (Photo by Meleah Hartnett)

One company, EWASTE+, was collecting old and unwanted electronics to recycle. Its main objective is to keep electronics out of landfills. At the event, the company collected just over two large garbage bins full of unwanted electronics, such as laptops, digital cameras, and cellphones.

Headwater Food Hub is another business that attended the event. Ryan Pierson, a marketing representative at the company, set out to explain what Headwater Food Hub does and how immense its impact is. Pierson explained that the hub collects food from over 60 small, local farms and distributes the food to different causes, St. John Fisher College included. Many of the farms collected from are organic, which Pierson emphasized the importance of. “Food is an important tool to affect sustainability,” he said. “Eating and supporting organic food makes a major difference.”

One of the most popular booths at the fair was the local produce stand. Wade Griffin, chef de cuisine at St. John Fisher College, supervised the stand while informing students and faculty about where the produce came from. He explained that the bees that made the  honey he was selling also pollinated the cherry tomato on sale.

The produce from the stand came from multiple local farms, some overlapping with the farms that provide food to the Headwater Food Hub. The college goes through roughly 300 dozen eggs a week, according to Griffin. Those eggs are brought to the college through Headwater Food Hub. Griffin explained that much of the food at the stand was the exact food used in the St. John Fisher College dining halls. Griffin pointed out the interconnectivity of the local produce.

Three students stopped by the local produce stand after their class. They purchased two peaches, and a zucchini for $4. Sydney Anderson, a junior, was delighted by the price of the fresh produce. “I go to Wegmans and this would be like $15,” she stated. “I just spent $4.” Griffin understood that he was undercharging for the produce, but he expressed that he was not there to make money. He was there to educate and excite students about local food and sustainability.

Ryan Loysen, of Green Spark Solar, attended the fair with his portable solar-powered phone charging station. He spoke on the misconceptions about solar energy. “People think it costs too much and there is not enough sun in New York,” he said. “But there are solutions to both of those issues.”

Students that attended the fair had a greater understanding of sustainability by the end. “It’s easy to think you don’t have an impact,” Kyra Burns, a sophomore, stated. “But eventually it all adds up.”

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