Skip to Content

In the News

Pennsylvania state icon

Earth Day recognized at WCU

Originally posted in the Daily Local

WEST CHESTER — As part of Friday’s annual Earth Day celebration, several speakers marked the day by saying that preserving Mother Earth should be a regular occurrence. The event was sponsored by the West Chester Green Team and West Chester University.

“We should be celebrating and honoring the earth every day — it shouldn’t be a special day to celebrate the earth, it should be every day,” U.S. Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-6th, of Easttown, told about 40 celebrants on a warm, sunny spring day outside Phillips Memorial Building.

A huge chalk Mother Earth filled much of the concrete sidewalk outside the castle-like building. Forty groups of artists chalked Earth Day related renderings up and down High Street sidewalks.

Chalk artist Sydney Munz enjoyed drawing on High Street with her family.

“I’m really excited about all the great work happening locally and how important it is to protect our local community,” she said.

The Green Team also unveiled its new sign featuring the message, “In nature, nothing exists alone.”

The inaugural Earth Day was held in 1970 and occurs annually on April 22. More than one billion people worldwide celebrate the event in 193 countries. Peace activist John McConnell proposed the day to honor the earth and the concept of peace.

Mayor Lillian DeBaptiste had just visited a separate celebration at West Chester Friends School. In the past, those young students had sparked the borough to establish a plastic bag and straw ban. The students are now pushing for use of refillable bottles.

“Old dogs can learn,” DeBaptiste said. “I’m proud to be part of a community that grows and learns together.”

West Chester University President Chris Fiorentino spoke eloquently about the need for sustainability and collaboration.

“We are trying to be challenging to ourselves, but realistic,” Fiorentino said. “We want to be responsible citizens.”

The WCU president talked about the shutdown of a campus coal-fueled power plant in favor of a geothermal plant, which now supplies half of the more than 17,600 student campus’ power.

“We are really focused on things we can do to move this institution forward,” he said.

Houlahan said that on the national level, and during her ongoing three-year tenure as representative, she is hearing better dialogue.

“It’s not fast enough, but you’re hearing the right words,” she said. “You’re all making progress and your voices really matter.”

Jess Cadorette, field director of the Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania announced that the Chester County Environmental Alliance’s Common Environment Agenda will be presented to County Commissioners next week.

“Not everyone experiences the environment in the same way,” Cadorette said.

The Green Team’s Unsung Hero Award was presented to volunteer and borough resident Christiane Torres by WCU graduate and Green Team member Courtney Finneran.

“Volunteers share a passion for this transformative-vision for our environment — volunteers who understand the horticultural needs of a given landscape-volunteers who understand the value of stretching a budget — volunteers who know how to be creative with limited resources — and volunteers who aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and dig in the dirt.”

Students in the Department of Communication and Media received an award, or Certificate of Appreciation, for their work in partnership with the Green Team.

The students were lauded for excellent design and communication skills utilized in relation to the environmental mission of the West Chester Green Team. Their talents helped organize significant, new partnerships between students, community members, and local businesses and the work completed for this project went above and beyond course requirements.

The award winning students are: Cayla Behrle, Daniel Keeler, Ava Mullertz, Karen Villalobos Bedolla and Christian White.