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Loyola community celebrates No Impact Week

| By Nick Alexopulos
Water bottles for sale during No Impact Week at Loyola University Maryland
Water bottles for sale in the Quad during No Impact Week at Loyola.

Embracing a series of projects to reduce the Loyola University Maryland community’s use of the Earth’s resources, members of the community undertook a weeklong series of daily carbon-cleanse challenges.

It was Loyola’s 2014 No Impact Week, part of a national initiative led by the environmental non-profit No Impact Project to raise awareness about sustainability on college campuses. Held the week of Oct. 19, No Impact Week events and activities extended beyond the Evergreen campus and promoted positive lifestyle changes and engage people across a spectrum of beliefs and ideas around environmental issues.

Loyola participants ate local and sustainable food all week, relied on environmentally friendly transportation, and didn’t create trash. The Quad was home to daily demonstrations and giveaways to promote alternative sustainable living, including worm composting, free fruit tree and bike giveaways, and tips on calculating and reducing an individual’s energy or water footprint. Students and employees also attended special guest lectures, film screenings, and a community cleanup, along with other campus-wide activities. The week ended with an “Eco-Sabbath,” a chance to unplug and reflect followed by yoga at sunset.

More than 400 people—372 Loyola students and 46 university employees—participated in the week’s activities and challenges. Many helped promote the event on Facebook and chronicled their experiences with #LUMNoImpact and student run blogs.

“It was clear that the students who were engaged in the events had formed a sense of community around sustainability during the week,” said Elizabeth Dahl, Ph.D., associate professor of chemistry and advisor to Loyola’s Environmental Action Club, which planned No Impact Week.

Dahl said students changed their habits in small but significant ways and are now more aware that a continual, individual commitment to simple carbon-reducing practices like unplugging chargers and using a reusable water bottle contribute to a broader effort.

One of the biggest successes was the locally produced farm-to-table dinner provided by Parkhurst, Loyola’s dining vendor. After the event, students expressed great interest in farm-to-table because the food was, in their words, “so delicious.”

“The week definitely made the concept of sustainability a visible part of Loyola,” said Dahl.

Additional planning and support for No Impact Week was provided by Loyola PRSSA, Rendez-Vous Haiti, and the Botany Club.

No Impact Week is one of Loyola’s many efforts to conserve resources. Last year Loyola was among the nation’s top 10 schools to reduce the most electricity consumption during a month long period in the largest electricity and water reduction competition program for colleges and universities.

Marketing and communications intern Elizabeth Nachbar, '15, co-wrote this news story.

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