UMass Amherst Students Practice Sustainability in 'No Impact Week'

AMHERST, Mass. – Hundreds of University of Massachusetts Amherst students, faculty and staff are expected to participate in a weeklong challenge called “No Impact Week” beginning on Sunday, Feb. 24, to reduce their individual carbon footprints and other environmental impacts through daily personal experiments in waste reduction, transportation, energy, food and water consumption.
The activities are based on “No Impact Man” Colin Beavan and his family’s year-long effort to have zero impact on the environment in their New York City apartment. Their story was made into a documentary film in 2009, and with the book inspired the “No Impact Week” movement on many college and university campuses.
Ezra Small of the UMass Amherst campus sustainability initiative says all 80 student Eco-Reps will take part. A student dressed as Mother Earth surrounded by her protectors circulated around the campus to pre-register students, faculty and staff ahead of the events. Eco-Reps will staff a table in the Campus Center to spread awareness and help people to share their experiences with each other.
Small says the week not only challenges individuals to experiment with reducing their personal impacts on the planet, but also encourages each person to give back to the community during a volunteer day on Saturday and a day of reflection or “Eco-Sabbath” on Sunday, March 3.
Small says more than 140 people have signed up to participate so far and the number is growing. They will receive daily updates reminding them of their daily challenges and encouraging them to stop by the Campus Center to share their experiences.
 “We are thrilled to see so many students already signed up for this, it’s a great way to help people make the connection that sustainability can be a part of their everyday lives here on campus and anywhere they go,” he says.