Oil spill planned to overtake Diag

By Paula Friedrich, Daily Staff Reporter
Published March 31, 2013

The Central Student Government’s Environmental Issues Commission kicked off their celebration of Earth Week with a potluck-style dinner in the Dana Building Sunday night.

Representatives from various sustainability focused student organizations sat, ate and chatted about plans for the coming week. Most plans concern the Diag, which become center stage for events held this week by multiple student and community organizations promoting sustainability.

LSA senior Dana Rollison, the commission's chair, said the goal of the week is to increase awareness of environmental issues on campus. Relatively new initiatives will be highlighted, such as the push for the University to remove endowment investments from the fossil fuel industry, which will be on the Diag Wednesday making a “photo petition” to send to the University’s Board of Regents.

“The University is so involved with sustainability research,” Rollison said. “They have made it clear in the past few years that sustainability defines the University of Michigan, they have made it a goal to decrease carbon emissions (and) decrease waste.”

Sunday’s “Food Day on The Diag,” headed by the University of Michigan Student Sustainability Initiative and the CSG commission, featured a collection of student organizations and local businesses showcasing local and sustainable food practices alongside an art installation.

“It’s kind of like a papier-mâché tree that’s lit up in the middle of the Diag, and the roots represent our member groups which are all the student groups that are working on sustainable food initiatives around campus,” said Rackham student Arielle Fleisher, a of member the UMSSI. “The branches represent our goals which are focused on education, community building and production.”

Tuesday, the commission will partner with conservation groups Oceana and the Sierra Club for a mock oil spill, an art installation meant to raise awareness for events like the 2010 oil spill in the Kalamazoo River. The installation is one of many events happening around college campuses in April, said LSA senior Lydia Geschiere, a Oceana campus representative and EIC board member.

“It’s literally a giant, shiny, slippery tarp with hazmat suits just like an oil spill,” Rollison said.

Other events will focus on sustainable transportation and climate change.