Earth Day 2011 is coming up fast. In preparation, Green Team worked lunch and dinner hours last week helping students sign up to plant trees and ignore car keys.

The week’s festivities are limited this year, an executive decision made by Jason Speegle, the director of Green Team. “It’s a little bit difficult for Earth Day this year. It’s on Good Friday, so a lot of students will be going home. So we’re doing it more as a week.”

He also understands that Earth Day is inconveniently timed for college students. “The problem is, we’re getting to the end of the school year and students are pretty overloaded. With the turnout of last year’s activities, I made the decision that we wouldn’t have an activity every day.”

Green Team is sponsoring only two projects this year. First, they are asking students to help plant trees on campus. Planting is scheduled for Tuesday the 19 and Friday the 22.

Brandyn Willard, physical education freshman, is one of the students who will be helping to plant a tree. He said his reason for helping is so that he can see it grow every year.

The second project is Park It Week. Students are challenged to park their car for as many days as possible this week. Sodexo is sweetening the deal by donating $1 to Stop Hunger, an initiative to end childhood hunger, for every day a student pledges.

Sam McDaniel, business freshman, pledged not to drive his car for a couple of days next week. “I signed up because I am a runner and I want to preserve the environment I run in,” he said.

Meeka Gentry, psychology sophomore, pledged not to drive her car in order to donate money to Stop Hunger.

Both reasons are good, but Sydnee Nelson, biochemistry sophomore has one more reason to pledge. “Not only does this promote environmental awareness, it actually helps people’s wallets at the same time.”

Projects like these are exactly what Speegle thinks will end up making a difference. “Small activities like this are hopefully creating some sort of culture change, little step by little step, to get us where we want to go,” he said.

Begun in 1970, Earth Day is a relatively new holiday. Speegle said, “My hope as Green Team director is that Earth Day will be a focal point for all students and organizations. I don’t want Green Team to be the only group on campus that does things with the environment in mind. My hope is that it will be a full campus celebration.”

Erin Morris is a freshman majoring in communication. You may e-mail her at erin.morris@sckans.edu.