Hesston College to “go green” with Earth Day celebration

Molly Nebel (Hesston, Kan.), Renita Miller (Kalona, Iowa) and Leah Rittenhouse (Mount Pleasant, Pa.) prepare the campus garden for spring planting during Hesston College's No Impact Week in September 2011. The garden is one focus of the college's Earth Day celebration April 19.

Hesston College academic departments, campus facilities and local businesses will partner to host an Earth Day celebration at Hesston College from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 19 on the Hesston College campus. The event is free and open to the public.

The day’s activities will center around the theme “Living the Green Life,” and will complement the college’s emphasis on sustainability during the academic year.

“The purpose of Earth Day is to remind ourselves that we live in the world and we need to do our part to take care of it,” said Nelson Kilmer, science faculty member and one of the event’s organizers.

Classes and individuals from the science and business departments will present conservation methods for energy, water, soil and waste. Participants can come and go as they explore ways to be sustainable.

Highlights include presentations and rides on the electric bicycle and bicycle charging station from Kilmer’s Physics II class, food cooked with solar energy, presentations from Lorna Harder’s Environmental Biology class and Dyck Arboretum of the Plains staff on gardening and native landscapes and information about recycling and waste disposal.

Menno Barrel, a student-operated rain barrel business from business instructor David LeVan’s Entrepreneurship class will sell their 55-gallon, recycled rain barrels. The rain barrels, which can be purchased for $70, a savings of up to $55 over competitors, capture rain from roofs and store it for later use. The students created the business for a class assignment and constructed the barrels themselves from recycled food-grade drums purchased from Pepsi Co. in Wichita. All of the profit earned from the sale of the rain barrels will be donated to Mennonite Central Committee to help continue water conservation efforts in countries around the world.

Local businesses will also be present to demonstrate their “green” products, including a representative from Westar Energy’s Smart Energy Program with a Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf electric cars, Excel Industries with the Zeon electric mower and King Solar explaining solar panel installation.

At 7 p.m. on April 22, the college will host award-winning author Marty Essen with his high-energy, multi-media show “Around the World in 90 Minutes” in the Hesston Mennonite Church sanctuary on the Hesston College campus. The show is a compilation of stories and photos Essen took during three and a half years of traveling the world with his wife, Deb, for his book “Cool Creatures, Hot Planet: Exploring the Seven Continents” (Encante Press, 2007). The program is free and open to the public.

Earth Day schedule of events