<p>Students at Brown University kicked off Earth Week with an Earth Day-themed carnival.&nbsp; The week ahead promises a host of environmentally themed entertainment.</p>

Earth Week kicked off on Friday at Brown University with a carnival.

Students tossed ping-pong balls into plastic cups with environmentally themed labels, shimmied under a limbo pole, planted vegetables in recycled bottles and engaged in other activities on the Main Green to commemorate the 41st annual Earth Day. The umbrella student environmental organization emPOWER organized the Earth Day carnival as well as a slew of events that will last through next Friday.

For the student organizers, Earth Day is about doing the little things to preserve the planet, such as recycling and taking the stairs instead of the elevator, rather than to attempt to solve larger, seemingly intractable problems such as curbing global warming.

"It's about doing whatever you can to make a difference," said Gretchen Gerlach, a freshman from Missoula, Montana. "It's doing the small things, changing your habits a little."

“I truly believe that everyone should be involved and aware of our planet and climate change,” said Sylvia Stone, a member of emPOWER and one of the lead organizers of Earth Day and Earth Week at Brown. “I’m excited about getting everyone as involved as possible.”

While the carnival served to celebrate Earth Day, the week ahead promises much more. Among the highlights:


  • Sat. April 23: Brown Folk Festival, featuring sustainability-themed skits and bike-blended smoothies, on Lincoln Field. Brown men’s lacrosse squares off against Cornell at 3 p.m.
  • Sun. April 24: Field trip to East Bay Bike Path (runs from Providence to Bristol), sponsored by Brown Outing Club
  • Mon. April 25: “Upcycling” workshop, led by members of Vault, the brand-new on-campus consignment shop.
  • Tues. April 26: Film screening: “Truck Farm,” sponsored by Brown Dining Services, 8 p.m. in the Salomon Center for Teaching.
  • Wed. April 27: Bike repair workshop, led by members of Bikes @ Brown
  • Thurs. April 28: Bottled water taste test challenge on the Main Green, led by Beyond the Bottle
  • Fri. April 29: Bike-powered engineering contest on the Main Green. Keynote lecture by author Bill McKibben, environmental activist, and founder of 350.org., 3:15 p.m. in the Salomon Center for Teaching

    Complete scheduling information and a listing of additional activities is online at: www.empowerbrown.org/earthweek