By Mel Dikert
April 16 through April 22 marks Drew University’s fifth annual Community Action Week, a whole week dedicated to activities and educational opportunities that allow people to learn about and take action against habits that harm the environment. The activities started on Monday, April 16, with an information session on Alternative Spring Break Service Trips and will continue through the end of the weekend. Throughout the week, each day has seen several activities planned where students are able to participate in learning how to better the campus’ environment and engaging in more eco-friendly habits they can apply in their everyday lives. “That’s the whole idea with Community Action Week,” said Tina Notas, the University Sustainability Coordinator, “[W]e’re taking account of our actions and also taking action.”
The end of Community Action Week coincides with Earth Day and will involve a performance by the school’s flute ensemble in the concert hall from 3 p.m to 6 p.m. The flute ensemble will perform music centered around Earth Day to celebrate our planet, including songs like “Purple Earth.”
“I think it’s really motivating to go to these types of events, especially the Center for Civic Engagement awards ceremony and the showcase where you see what other people are working on to help the community,” said Notas when asked how the activities during Community Action week impact the students on campus. “Going out and seeing these things … I think it really motivates students to see what’s out there and maybe give them some ideas on things that they can do.”
Community Action Week began in 2014 as a collaboration between Drew’s Office of Sustainability and the Center for Civic Engagement. The two organizations decided to start collaborating and calling it Community Action Week due to overlapping and similar events they both used to hold during the week prior to Earth Day. It has since expanded to include Drew Environmental Action League (DEAL), Student Activities, Drew Theological School and the Volunteer Resource Center. Under the tagline “Celebrating Socially Responsible Action,” these organizations band together every year to make this week happen.
However, it is possible that sometime in the future, Community Action Week could expand into a whole month. “[C]elebrating socially responsible action during Community Action is really great but we could also continue it throughout the year… We’ve definitely talked about having it be a month-long thing and we’ll just have to see what happens. The more the merrier!” Notas said. “I think Community Action was successful. It was exciting to be doing it for a fifth year! We’ll see if it grows.”
If you’re interested in joining the last several events for this week or in participating in Community Action Week next year, more information can found on the Drew website at https://www.drew.edu/campus-sustainability/about-us/community-action-week/.