Greenfest educates and entertains attendees

On Saturday, the Environmental Student Assembly hosted Springfest: Greenfest, a carnival of eco-friendly activities that ran in conjunction with the annual Springfest event.

“Greenfest is the fun, educational portion of Springfest, an interactive program that raises awareness about how we use our energy,” said ESA Executive Director Shawn Rhoads.

The event, which lasted from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., took place in McCarthy Quad and featured an Energy Playground sponsored by the nonprofit organization Global Inheritance.

Since its founding in 2002, Global Inheritance has encouraged environmental awareness through promoting issues like water conservation and recycling at festival events all over the world, including Coachella, the X Games and the Superbowl.

“We started this partnership last year during ESA’s first year on the USC Program Board Assembly,” Rhoads said. “Greenfest is part of Earth Month, so we want to not only use this program to be a memorable event, but also to raise awareness about the different programs we’ve got going on during the month of April.”

The newest division of Program Board, ESA is dedicated to promoting events that spread awareness about environmental issues and encourage sustainable, environmentally conscious behavior.

“ESA was founded [because] … me and a bunch of other students felt the need to unite the environmental student community because of the lack of community that existed,” Rhoads said. “We can get a lot done alone, but we can do so much more together. That’s something ESA constantly highlights.”

Rhoads hopes Greenfest will help raise awareness about their 21 other events planned for the month of April.

“The greatest thing about this event is that we reach out to so many different people,” Rhoads said. “They have such a diverse lineup this year that we’re going to get types of students that ESA might not normally reach.”

The event offered Springfest, Greenfest and Earth Month T-shirts to those in attendance, provided that they complete at least two energy-generating activities.

“Greenfest has human hamster wheels and other fun stuff like that that students can play on and it will generate energy for a T-shirt screening machine, which we’ll use to make T-shirts,” ESA member Erin Rode said.

Greenfest also offered bikes and seesaws that generated electricity to power light bulbs and cell phones.

“We don’t really think twice when we plug in our cell phones to an outlet, but this is kind of amazing that we’re making people aware of how energy’s really being used,” Rhoads said.

Students in attendance had the opportunity to try the various activities throughout the afternoon.

“I thought it was a really cool way to bring attention to alternative energy in a way that people can be excited about,” said Arushi Gulati, a freshman majoring in biomedical engineering. “The hamster wheel was the coolest experience.”

Rhoads has high hopes that Greenfest will continue to spread awareness about environmental issues and be a substantial event that promotes the causes of the ESA and its network of environmental groups in the future.

“We have a lot of energy and motivation that our programs and initiatives can channel,” Rhoads said. “Greenfest is a great way to come together in some way and really just show the university that we want USC to be a global leader in environmental sustainability.”

Editor’s note: Erin Rode is a lifestyle columnist and opinion writer at the Daily Trojan.