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Three Facts From Drexel's EarthFest

May 05, 2023

Green reusable bag reading Drexel Green

On a quintessential sunny spring day on April 19, Drexel University students and community members flocked to Lancaster Walk to celebrate EarthFest.

It’s an annual block party-style event that brings together outside organizations, student organizations and other stakeholders with green initiatives so the Drexel community can learn more about environmentally friendly organizations, missions and plans on and around campus.

Aside from food, drinks and swag from various student and outside organizations, students picked up plenty of fun facts about recycling, funky fish and more.

  1. Reusing is more eco-friendly than recycling

Of course, you should still be recycling your plastics, paper, cardboard and aluminum, but you should also try to reuse items when you can. It takes a lot of energy to transport, clean, remake and redistribute items that are recycled, said Zoe Furhman, project manager for Rabbit Recycling, an external company that provides subscription-based recycling and offers free materials they save from the trash, including materials like foam core, bubble wrap, packing materials, textiles and more.

“It’s better to get things back out into the community,” Fuhrman said.

Recycled items at Rabbit Recycling
Rabbit Recycling brought examples of recyclable items.
  1. You can (and should!) drink the water from hydration stations around campus

At the student organization EcoReps’ table, students could get a free metal straw and learn more about hydration stations on campus so they could use more reusable bottles for water. It’s easier and cheaper than buying bottled water, and as EcoReps member and teacher education major Carter Kristoff reminded students, tap water is safe to drink everywhere on campus.

There are plenty of hydration stations around campus, like behind Barnes and Noble in the Creese Student Center and in Main Building, and you can find even more on the DrexelOne app. You’ll never be thirsty, and you’ll cut down on plastic use — a win for you and Earth.

Sheepshead fish in a jar
A preserved northern snakehead.
  1. There are fish that can walk on land — but they shouldn’t be in Philly

Students in the Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Sciences (BEES) celebrate Earth Day pretty frequently in class by doing their best to trim invasive species in the Philadelphia area. It sounds harsh, but invasive species like the northern snakehead just do too much damage to local ecosystems.

“It’s a cool fish and it’s a shame we have to euthanize it, but by law we have to,” said Jeff Smith, an environmental science major and Academy of the Natural Sciences at Drexel University co-op.

A lot of invasive species start in the pet trade and are then introduced to local parks and waterways. The northern snakehead can even survive on land for a bit — long enough to make it to another waterway and spread its invasion there. The northern snakehead lives in Franklin D. Roosevelt Park in South Philadelphia and outcompetes other, native species for food, which can drive down biodiversity and destabilize the ecosystem.