Muhlenberg’s Environmental Action Team, or enACT, is back for another year of celebrating Earth Day with an extensive list of events throughout the month of April to engage the campus community while promoting care for the environment.
The student-run environmental advocacy group is bringing back new iterations of events from previous years and initiating new ones with an emphasis on collaboration and community. Events that have been repeated from last year include the clothing swap, chalking and Earth Shabbat. EnACT board member Harli Strauss-Cohn ‘24 said, “Everything else was new to this year. Even those events had a new twist to them—clothing swap was outside, chalking is going to have music with ATR [A-Town Records] and the conversations that happened at Earth Shabbat were made uniquely for this year. We strive to be changing, growing and adapting throughout all our planning processes and events we do.”
Board members of enACT conducted weekly meetings to discuss plans and future projects to inform the initiatives that would be a part of Earth Month this year. “We urge people that if they have a passion project they want to bring to life, we are a platform that can make that stuff happen. We definitely do not want the board to be making all different kinds of decisions in that way. There’s lots and lots and lots of opportunities for engagement and participation,” said enACT board member Maddie Davidson ‘25.
“We urge people that if they have a passion project they want to bring to life, we are a platform that can make that stuff happen.”Maddie Davidson ’25
On Earth Day itself, festivities began in the morning with student-led yoga, on the College Green conducted by enACT and the Outdoors Club and led by Madeline de la Parra ‘23. The organization then orchestrated a trip to Allentown’s Earth Day in the Park celebration filled with activities, games, vendors and educational experiences all encouraging environmental awareness. Davidson reflected on the experience saying, “It was a really great opportunity to get involved in the community and learn from people. I made a bunch of connections while I was there talking with different people involved in advocacy and education.”
Strauss-Cohn highlighted the importance of collaboration in environmental advocacy saying, “We are stronger together and brought to expand more than if we were siloed off. It is really important for us to also collaborate with/be a part of/support the environmental efforts of the greater Allentown community as most of us are mere passersby here in the grand scheme of things.” EnACT’s focus on collaborating with other organizations is apparent through various Earth Month events. For instance, the Muhlenberg Activities Council (MAC) helped out with enACT’s chalking event on Apr. 21 by giving away reusable straws at the same time to increase attendance. Other collaborators included ATR, who provided live music during the chalking event, as well as Hillel and the Student Government Association (SGA), who helped establish the new journaling stations and free libraries throughout campus. Strauss-Cohn also pointed out how, “Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley hosted a guest speaker here, Ruth Santiago, who spoke about the importance of a renewable energy transition led by community in Puerto Rico in the face of international aid efforts that keep trying to rebuild broken systems that leave people without power for months on end.”
“We are stronger together and brought to expand more than if we were siloed off. It is really important for us to also collaborate with/be a part of/support the environmental efforts of the greater Allentown community as most of us are mere passers by here in the grand scheme of things.”Harli Strauss-Cohn ’24
EnACT will also be collaborating with other organizations for their main event of the month, EcoFest, which has been moved to Arbor Day rather than Earth Day to align with Muhlenberg’s 175th Anniversary Celebration. The event will include vendors from the Allentown community that will be tabling, selling products and spreading the word about their initiatives. EcoFest will also include student vendors and performances from student-run ensembles. “If [EcoFest] sparks an idea and you want to contribute to the community, contribute to your relationship with the planet in some special kind of way, that could be a great opportunity to find something and make that bridge, make those connections,” says Davidson. Ecofest is on Apr. 28 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the College Green.
By turning Earth Day into Earth Month, the student-run environment advocacy group hopes to emphasize the importance of protecting the planet in an inclusive, enjoyable way. Strauss-Cohn says, “In expanding Earth Day out into Earth Month, we hope to exemplify the importance and need to care and act for the earth each and every day of the entire year, really. EnACT hopes you have enjoyed the Earth Month events and will continue loving, appreciating and being in the earth far past [April].”