earthdayIt’s about the Earth, therefore it’s about everything—the health of humans, animals and plants, global social interaction, the long-term prospects for a viable planet on which to live.

The annual Earth Day Festival at Smith, which takes place on Saturday, April 23, (April 22 is Earth Day), offers an eclectic, cross-disciplinary, entertaining smorgasbord of activities and opportunities that entail far more than just environmental issues.

The festival, which is free and open to the public, takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Chapin Lawn (rain location: Scott Gym).

Festival organizer Emma Wade ’13, a member of the Smith Green Team, emphasizes that this year’s Earth Day Festival goes beyond previous efforts in representing a diverse array of what is happening on campus.

“Earth Day is not only about Green events,” she says. “It’s not only about environmental responsibility but also social and cultural responsibility.”

In that way, the Earth Day Festival reflects a tenet of the Smith education—that Smith students will build the necessary skills to lead international lives and become global citizens, says Wade. “One reason we’re here is we want to figure out how all these [liberal arts] tools and concepts contribute to the bigger picture.”

Toward that end, a cross-section of student organizations—Smith Democrats, SmiTHrift, Smith Students for Social Justice and Institutional Change—will be represented at the festival, and workshops on issues across the academic board will be offered.

Of course, traditional environmental groups will be present as well. The Bike Kitchen will offer cycling maintenance tips. The Smith Community Garden will transplant seedlings. Students will discuss reusing commencement regalia, the Smith Green Energy Challenge, water conservation on campus, and more.

If for nothing else, says Wade, come to the festival for the fun. Eat local food, play recycling-themed games, and take part in the Free Box Frenzy.

Accompanying all the activity will be Big Tree, a San Francisco-based indie pop band perfect for the occasion. The band members travel in their own vegetable oil-powered bus and will lead a workshop on how to convert vehicles to vegetable oil power.

Earth Day has grown into an international phenomenon since its founding in 1970 by Gaylord Nelson, a U.S. senator from Wisconsin. Many credit the annual designation as the birth of the modern environmental movement.

The Smith Earth Day Festival is the Green Team’s culminating event.