Environmental Groups Unite for “fESt”

Additional reporting by Eve Gutman ’15 

Photos by Graham Barrett ’15

Bi-Co environmental groups gathered in the Bryn Mawr room of the Dining Center on Friday for “fESt,” an environmental awareness festival hosted by the Tri-Co Environmental Studies Senior Capstone class.

“Our vision was to create a space in which many groups and people could come together and engage with issues of environmentalism in a way that reflects the multiplicity of perspectives from which people can relate to the environment,” said Allie DiTucci ’15, one of eleven seniors who took the Capstone course.

The “ES” in fESt stands for “Environmental Studies.” As director of the ES program, Haverford chemistry professor Helen White led the course during the fall semester.

“The capstone brings together students from multiple majors to work as a group to address an environmental problem,” said White, who also led the capstone’s inaugural class with Haverford biology professor Jon Wilson in the fall 2013 semester. “This year we focused on environmental communication and how to engage our community in environmental issues without making them feel guilty about the environmental problems that exist.

For over two hours, students filled the room, going from one stand to the next. There were sustainability trivia games, a short film screening, and plenty of vegetarian food.

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Representatives from Ehaus held a clothing swap where visitors could refresh their wardrobes without buying new clothing and give away clothing they didn’t want anymore without throwing it out. At the HaverFarm stand, members sold used t-shirts with student-designed prints on them. Haverfordians for a Liveable Future advertised the more than 600 student signatures it has collected for its ongoing petition to divest Haverford from fossil fuels, as well as shared a photo petition of students with their own messages about why they support divestment.

Due to the great number of environmental groups at both Bryn Mawr and Haverford, one of the primary goals of the festival was to enhance communication and coordination among those groups.

“[The fESt] was the first of what will hopefully become an annual environmentalism festival, showcasing the work of Bi-Co groups involved in environmental activities of all stripes.” said Katie Rowlett ’15, a member of Haverfordians for a Livable Future.

One of the new groups in attendance was The Bricolage Co-op, a product of the Haverford anthropology class “DIY (Do it Yourself) Movements and American Environmentalisms.” The Co-op, whose name means “something constructed or created from a diverse range of available things,” will be a space for the exchange of objects made on Haverford’s campus.

“[The Co-op] aims to help Haverford students, faculty and staff to sell or trade their own art, clothes, furniture, knick knacks, and other skills, enacting values often left ideological or abstract in the classroom,” said DiTucci. “By focusing on offering avenues for skill-sharing and non-conventional forms of exchange and payment, this cooperative hopes to model the potential for alternative economies.”

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The Co-op hopes to foster an alternative community on campus that is connected by relationships which are socially, morally and economically responsible. Though a rainy forecast forced the event indoors, Rowlett said that fESt was still a major success.

“It had a really good atmosphere and was a great place for fostering inter-group connections and showing others what’s going on with environmentalism at Haverford.”

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