Music, celebration, and activism: Earth Day 2000
by Ashley Hanamann, Features Editor

Early on a beautiful Saturday morning, Greenfire, a group devoted to addressing environmental concerns on and off campus, commenced its annual Earth Day celebration with a host of events, including bands, games, and clean-up activities, that lasted well into the evening. They worked with area high schools, including Appleton West's environmental organization "Help Our Planet Earth" (HOPE) for three months prior to the event. Greenfire expanded upon last year's celebration, and added several new events. They expected a larger turnout than last year's, and were not disappointed.
Events were kicked off early on Thursday, April 20, with a discussion panel on genetically engineered foods, organized by freshman Clara Muggli. This was followed by a vegetarian dinner in Downer. Speaker Jane Krogstad gave a presentation on municipal septic systems vs. "the living machine," a system in which aquatic communities are used to break down waste and recycle it, as opposed to burying it. She also discussed the idea of an "eco-village," a self-sustaining, enclosed system in which the inhabitants of a community recycle all waste instead of sending it elsewhere, and which uses few outside resources.
Among the events held over from last year were a swap meet, a cleanup of the banks of the Fox River, and an augmented kids' crafts area that included tie dyeing, wood blocks, crazy faces, and basket making. More children attended this year's kids' crafts section than last year. The Kids' Parade was held at a local elementary school. The students of the school made floats based on Wisconsin's environmental issues, and flowers were donated. Information booths were also set up for campus organizations such as ORC and the ultimate frisbee team.
Several musicians entertained over the course of the celebration. The Sambistas were well received, as was Joe Price, a blues singer from Iowa. Most successful, however, was a rock band from Minnesota, the Big Wu. The Big Wu concert was meant to attract not only Lawrence students, but also members of the Appleton community, and in fact the majority of the audience who attended were from off campus. Junior Elizabeth Surles, one of the organizers of the event, estimated that the turnout at the concert alone was between 250 and 300 people. "The music really brought in the community," noted senior Nathan Leverence.
The people who attended the Earth Day celebration conducted themselves well. Near the end of The Big Wu concert, Greenfire asked the audience to keep the area clean and to pick up after themselves. "The field was spotless after everyone left," sophomore Mo McKenna remarked. She noted specially the great support from Lawrence security, Campus Services, and faculty. ----------