MC celebrates Earth Week April 16-22

MC celebrates Earth Week April 16-22

April 13, 2012
Contact: Chloe Kennedy, News and New Media Writer

Students, faculty and staff of Maryville College will observe Earth Day with several events planned for April 16-22.

“Earth Week 2012” will include events such as a film screening, an ice cream social, a solar array dedication ceremony, a food discussion and a litter clean-up event. All events are open to the public.

“We are an increasingly interior society – our work is inside, and our lives bring us more and more indoors, so any chance we have to reconnect with nature in any form is always to the better,” said Dr. Mark O’Gorman, associate professor of political science, coordinator of the environmental studies program and co-sponsor of Earth Week. “The location of our college has always focused us on nature with such a beautiful vista behind campus. We’re the closest college to the western side of the Smokies, and our location is something we should always remind ourselves to celebrate.”

In addition to next week’s Earth Week events, two Solar Dok picnic tables will be installed on the lawn in front of Pearsons Hall on Thurs., April 26. Funded through a grant from the Margaret A. Cargill Foundation, the tables will serve as “educational tools and social pods where students, faculty and staff can study, interact, hold meetings on campus and generally engage in more interactive intellectual experiences while being outside in our central part of campus; all while not drawing from the already taxed energy grid and slightly reducing peak load times,” according to the letter Dr. Barbara Wells, vice president and dean of the College, wrote to the Solar Dok company, EnerFusion.

The tables are made from recycled materials and include three 45-watt solar panels and one 100-watt panel, which are mounted on the roof canopy of each Solar Dok. The panels will convert solar power into useable 110-volt AC power for laptop computers, cell phones, mp3 players and other electronics. The tables also have USB type A power outlets.

“This year’s Earth Week events are centered around community and partnerships, particularly the celebration of new technologies and resources that can bring visual and tangible attention to the importance of innovation for environmental solutions,” said Adrienne Schwarte, associate professor of art, chairperson of the College’s Environmental and Forestry Advisory Committee, and co-sponsor of Earth Week. “With the dedication of the solar array at Crawford House to the installation of new Solar Dok picnic tables outside of Pearsons Hall, these projects showcase continued community support by groups such as the City of Maryville, to newly formed partnerships with organizations such as EnerFusion, Inc. and Efficient Energy of Tennessee (EETN).”

Schwarte added: “Even with new technologies, MC’s Earth Week still maintains a grounding in the roots of environmental sustainability, literally, using centuries-old technology by creating wheel-thrown bowls with Virginia Red clay for reuse to eating locally grown food from within a four-county radius. And, through community engagement and partnerships, we can educate ourselves and others about the many connections between our environment and the physical health of our communities, which is what Living Downstream (film screening on April 20) is all about.”

Monday, April 16:

- 2-4 p.m.: Create Your Own Clay Bowl

Design and build your own wheel-thrown clay bowl using Virginia Red Clay in the Clayton Center for the Arts’ Ceramic Studio. This event is limited to 20 people, so please email to pre-register.

Tuesday, April 17:

- 3:30 p.m.: Feast about Food Rules

Come to the lawn of Pearsons Hall to enjoy some vegetarian food and engage in informal discussions about author Michael Pollan’s Food Rules.

Wednesday, April 18:

- 1 p.m.: Court Street Clean-up with Dr. Mark O’Gorman’s PLS122 class

O’Gorman and students in his American Government and Politics class will pick up litter on Court Street. For more information or to sign up, email

Thursday, April 19:

- 10:30 a.m.: Dedication of Solar Array at Crawford House

The new solar array erected near Crawford House, will be dedicated. Participating in the ceremony will be representatives from Maryville College, the City of Maryville and Efficient Energy of Tennessee (EETN). The project was funded through a grant from the Appalachian Regional Commission. Following the dedication ceremony, guests can tour Crawford House, which is undergoing energy-efficient improvements required for LEED certification.

Friday, April 20:

- 3 p.m.: Homemade Ice Cream Social & Plant a Seed

Bring your own bowl and spoon and enjoy some homemade ice cream at Crawford House. Plant a seed from Seed Savers Exchange in the Organic Community Gardens on the Crawford House lawn (next to the new orchards).

- 6:30 p.m.: Film Screening of Living Downstream

Based on the acclaimed book by ecologist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber, Ph.D., Living Downstream follows Steingraber during one pivotal year as she travels across North America, working to raise awareness about cancer and its environmental links. The film will be shown in the Clayton Center for the Arts' Harold and Jean Lambert Recital Hall.

Sunday, April 22: Earth Day

Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the fall 2016 semester is 1,197.