BY MERYL PHAIR ’21
Campus Action Day, a campus clean-up event that was scheduled to be held on April 13, was canceled on last Friday due to a lack of student interest in participation, as well as an unforeseen conflict with Senior Symposium.
“A lot of the people who were originally planning on participating weren’t able to do so because they [were] presenting during the same time,” said SGA Senator and Committee Member Lila Oren-Dahan ’20. “It isn’t feasible to reschedule due to the litany of events occurring throughout the remainder of the semester.” Oren-Dahan had to cancel the Facebook event only hours before students were to meet on Skinner Green.
The goal behind Campus Action Day was to create a campus event inviting the community to act on their dedication to the school by partaking in an initiative to clean up and maintain the campus, according to the Facebook events page. Working side by side with Facilities Management, students would have had the opportunity to meet the people who work to ensure that campus is able to function properly. Activities would have included sweeping, raking, picking up litter, clearing out industrial window wells and removing invasive plant species from around Lower Lake.
“I believe this effort would have been an excellent way for students and staff to appreciate the work the other does while working together to clean up campus,” said Elise Newcomer ’18, one of the primary organizers of the event. “I’ve never seen an event like this on campus, and as a graduating senior this May, I hope this working group can make this event a success next year,” Newcomer represented the Senate Working Group in meetings with leaders of Facilities Management to pull together the resources that would make the event possible.
“Campus Action Day is not currently an annual event. It used to be one, again in conjunction with Facilities Management, and one of our goals was to bring it back as an annual event,” Oren-Dahan explained.
Various initiatives over the years have encouraged student involvement with Facilities Management. Recent programs include Zero Waste’s composting initiative, currently under way in partnership with Dining Services; organization members handed out composting bags at the Dining Commons on April 6 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The bags were intended for students to take back to their dorms, use to collect their compost throughout the week and then return next Friday, April 13, anytime from 10:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. to be added to the Dining Commons composting system.
Other initiatives go back further. In 1970, the Conservative Action Committee, a student organization that promoted the conservation of energy and eco-friendly living, enlisted students to put out newspaper collection boxes in their dorms in an attempt to collect recyclable items. “Lest all this seem like too much effort for the Mount Holyoke student, we wonder how many of us know how many trees it takes to make one issue of The New York Times,” said the announcement published in the Mount Holyoke News by the Conservative Action Committee in 1970.
Like the proposed Campus Action Day, this initiative was meant to allow students to interact with Maintenance and Facilities Management while simultaneously taking care of their campus.
The organizers of the event plan to try again in the future. “The hope for next year is to plan more in advance and look at the college calendar better and plan accordingly,” said Oren-Dahan.