Ever feel like you don’t make an impact on the world? Well, Gannon University – in partnership with Allegheny College and Edinboro University – wants you to know that’s OK; at least for one week.
“No Impact Week” – a weeklong, country-wide effort by participants to lower their carbon footprint – comes to Erie Oct. 2 through Oct. 9.
And just like every effort to save the world, this environmental extravaganza has a superhero. It’s an effort inspired by a New York City man named Colin Beavan, who now is known as “No Impact Man,” after he embarked on a year-long adventure to use zero carbon emissions in his daily life.
Gretchen Fairley, director of service learning at Gannon, described his year as one of no driving, no takeout (to prevent getting takeout containers) and no taking the elevator to get to home on the 17th floor of an apartment. His wife and toddler also joined his movement. Beavan will be speaking at Gannon at noon on Monday, Oct. 3, at the Waldron Campus Center in Room 219. The event is free and open to the public.
Fairley said there is also a movie of Beavan’s experiences, which will be shown at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 1, at the Tom Ridge Center on the Big Green Screen. Space is limited so interested parties are asked to reserve a spot at noimpactproject.org. Gannon also has purchased a copy of the film for the Nash Library.
Though Beavan is the man behind the mission it was the Black Family Foundation – a local charitable philanthropic group, that made the project possible in Erie, Fairley said. The group approached all the universities in the area last year in the hopes of making it a contest. She said Gannon didn’t feel equipped to participate last year, but welcomed the opportunity from the organization to take part this year.
During “No Impact Week,” every day has a theme – for example Monday is energy day – and Fairley said Gannon is organizing it so that different groups on campus run each day.
Fairley’s group – the Sustainability Subcommittee of the Erie-GAINS project – along with one service-learning class is tackling transportation day on Wednesday. She said the Sustainability Subcommittee might invite some local bicycle shops to run a clinic.
Jacob Anastasia, president of the Environmental Club and a junior environmental engineering major, said the Environmental Club is hosting energy day on Monday and plans to give away free fluorescent light bulbs and possibly raffle off a recycling bin full of green products.
Monica Scarsella, president of Tri-Beta and a junior L-COMM 4+4 pre-med biology major, said Tri-Beta will be running Friday – which is the water day. Scarsella said Tri-Beta’s plans include giving away water conservation prizes, such as water-saving shower heads and water bottles.
“Our goals are not only educating on the possibilities on a larger scale,” she said, “but inspiring change in everyday life.”
Fairley said the week will also include a variety of special events. One of these is a swap shop where students can bring unwanted items and trade them for things they need. Metz Culinary management will also be going tray-less in the cafeteria all week long to support efforts to save energy and water and stop food waste. Normally, the cafeteria is only tray-less on Thursdays.