Katie Swartz
Environmental Studies 120
May 6, 2002
Sponsor: Amy Molitor
Partner: The magnificent Maggie Kerr

Internship Final Report: Earth Day 2002

Task:

Maggie and I were in charge of planning the events for this year’s earth day. We decided that our goal was to plan a few events that were both informative and fun, so educate and celebrate the earth.

Personal Value:

From this internship, I had hoped to expand my organizational skills and creative skills, and pull a successful informative, celebratory day together, like past earth days that I had experienced as a younger kid. It has been a long time since I had attended a really great, fun earth day fair, and that is what I’d hoped Maggie and I would be able to pull together.

Community Value:

We decided that it would be easier if we kept the activities limited to the Whitman Community, purely for ease’s sake. We talked to the coordinators of last year’s earth day, and they said that it was very difficult to pull in the Walla Walla community and the two other colleges. Last year they apparently tried, and had little response as well as some disappointments as far as support from the other colleges.

Discussion:

Earth Day overall was a mediocre success. Maggie and I ended up successfully planning a movie-a-thon, a concert and letter writing campaign, and volunteer tree planting on campus. It was less than we had originally hoped for, but even those three things proved daunting to coordinate. Originally, we had wanted to have a big celebration, as I said before, but we didn’t really have any idea where to start on such a task. We then tried to plan a few concrete activities, first and foremost a concert on Cordiner lawn, which we had hoped to have on Saturday, which is the day that most students would be available to do such things. We devoted most of our time to trying to get that concert organized with the bands and trying to get representatives from the Walla Walla Community and fellow students to man booths that would educate concert-goers on issues facing the local and global environments. Maggie went after the people for the booths and received very few responses from the plethora of people she contacted. I on the other hand, tried to get the Ark to agree to play, and worked with Brian Dohe’s secretary, Barb, in trying to get space rented. This was also very frustrating because the Imagine Multi-Cultural fest and Maya Angelou’s supposed talk were supposed to occur on Saturday. We therefore switched to Sunday at the last minute, and decided the show had to be acoustic because we didn’t think we had the money to pay for the tech services. So we couldn’t have the concert when, where, or how we wanted, and couldn’t get anyone but one person to man an issue booth. We ended up moving the concert from the RCC to Ankeny, where it attracted some people, and people wrote letters to their senators thanking them or criticizing them, depending on their ANWR vote. Despite it being significantly less than we had envisioned, however, the concert was really fun and those that were there really enjoyed it.

The video-a-thon was difficult to coordinate, because the library does not have a list of the movies that it has available, so we had to check for them one by one. We tried to buy videos, but they are profoundly expensive, running around $90 each, so we bought only one, thinking our budget was $100. Luckily, the space was easy to get, but only a few people showed up for the event, as it was on a Sunday night when people are busy. The videos were interesting, nonetheless.

The tree planting on Monday was fairly easy to plan; one meeting with the landscaping committee and one sign up sheet during class, a few e-mails and that was set. It was very successful, and now around a dozen new trees now exist in a variety of spots around campus. The students that volunteered had fun doing it as well.
Maggie and I both took pictures at the concert and at the tree planting.

Future Recommendations:

First and foremost, I think it is important for those working on earth day to know that they have $1000 available to them, if they request it from Tom Cronin. If we had known that from the beginning, I think we would have planned different activities—been a little more extravagant. Also, more time would be really beneficial. Because spring break is right in the middle of planning time, it causes momentum to be lost and creates a rush when you get back. For a large celebration to occur I think things need to be planned and spaces reserved further in advance, so that other large celebrations, such as the “Imagine” festival, might be planned at other times. I think perhaps a better sense of what has been done in the past would be helpful. Advertising, and a lot of it, would have helped out the turnout of the events we did plan, but again we ran out of time planning the stuff, so we didn’t have time to advertise sufficiently. If people got started out earlier, perhaps fall semester, they could have things planned well in advance and then could devote more energy to advertising. My final recommendation would be to hold as many of the events on Saturday as possible, as people have schoolwork and other stuff to do on Sundays.