AMHERST, Mass. – The University of Massachusetts Amherst will celebrate its third annual Campus Sustainability Day on Wednesday, Oct. 23, with a green jobs panel, a student sustainability and networking fair, “green campus” tours, “real food” tasting and Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy signing the “Real Food Challenge.”
The student-led initiative commits the campus to strive toward serving 20 percent organic, fairly traded or local food in its dining halls and cafés by 2020. Subbaswamy says, “As the flagship campus of the Commonwealth, we are defined by excellence. Sustainability is a core value of this institution and our exemplary leadership in this area provides a model for universities across the country.”
Afternoon events include:
· 3:30-5 p.m., Earthfoods Café at the Campus Center. Green jobs panel, “Building Sustainable Leaders,” featuring UMass Amherst alumni now working in the green jobs industry plus keynote speaker Kevin Doyle, workforce leader for the New England Clean Energy Council.
· 5-6 p.m., Student Union Ballroom. Real food tasting, student sustainability fair and networking event, with interactive student organization table displays and leisurely networking over local snacks and beverages. The campus a cappella group “Vocal Suspects” will perform.
· 6:15 p.m., Student Union Ballroom. Chancellor’s public signing of the “Real Food Challenge,” with presentations on “Learning, Living and Leading at Sustainable UMass.” Ken Toong, executive director of Dining and Auxiliary Services, with student sustainability leaders, will unveil the campus’s specific food sustainability goals and new campus-wide sustainability brand and website.
· 6:50 p.m., Student Union Ballroom. A performance by the Minuteman Marching Band ends the day.
Ezra Small, campus sustainability manager, says, “Campus Sustainability Day recognizes our successes, challenges and sustainability innovation and promotes discussion on the ways UMass Amherst can help make the Commonwealth more resilient and adaptable to a changing world.”
UMass Amherst is the largest food service provider in higher education in the nation to sign on to the Boston-based Real Food Challenge, organizers say. The campus plans to meet its goals by auditing current purchases, researching alternatives and educating the student body about the importance of seeking more sustainable food choices. This means UMass Amherst will be spending public and student dollars in a more socially and environmentally fair way.
The Real Food Challenge maintains a national network of student food activists and provides opportunities for networking, learning and leadership development. Its campaign goal is to shift $1 billion of existing university food budgets away from industrially farmed and junk food and toward local and community-based, fair and ecologically sound by 2020.