UW Today

May 11, 2011

The Tower Green Fair: Making sustainability fun (with chocolate and donuts)

Why shouldnt going green and learning about sustainability be fun?

Thats the thinking behind the UW Tower Green Fair, to be held in the Tower cafeteria from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, May 19. The event is being presented by the UW Tower Green Team — the same folks behind the Tower Patio Demonstration Garden and other environmentally-friendly efforts.

Bethany Staelens shows off some of the hundreds of bottle caps she's collected at UW Tower for recycling.

“Weve been talking about getting people motivated not just to participate in the Green Team, but to be more mindful of sustainability,” said Bethany Staelens, assistant to the vice provost for UW Educational Outreach, who works at the tower. “But theres the whole idea of green fatigue, where people feel so helpless when thinking about sustainability. The idea that we want to show is that ‘green doesnt have to be gloom and doom — green can be fun. And even little things can have a huge impact.”

The fair will bring UW people and units involved in green initiatives — such as Professional and Continuing Education, the College of the Environment, U-PASS and that same Green Team — together with local nonprofit groups and businesses that also think green.

There will be samples of healthy, organic food provided by PCC Natural Markets, demonstrations of an x-ray fluorescent device for testing household products from the Washington Toxics Coalition, a way to measure your carbon footprint with the Green Teams “carbon computer” and music videos on the subject of sustainability.

And oh yes, there will be chocolate, and even donuts. Representatives of Theo Chocolate will be on hand with samples and information about organic, free-trade chocolate. And folks from Mighty-O Donuts will be there with samples of their vegan mini-donuts.

At UW Tower, there's a place to recycle plastic bottle caps.

Nonprofit groups that will be represented at the fair are the National Wildlife Federation, EarthCorps, Tilth, People for Puget Sound and Seattle City Lights Conservation Group.

Area businesses that work toward sustainability also will be on hand, Staelens said. These include Blue Sky Cleaners, Zipcar, Aveda, Evergreen Escapes, Complete Office, Puget Sound Energy, Peaks Frozen Custard, Office Depot, Arbonne vegan skincare, Baby Diaper Service and Keeneys Office Supply.

Visitors to the fair also can have a Sustainability Passport stamped as they move from table to table to enter a drawing for a “Green Gift Basket” to be given away. Remember to bring your UW ID for Tower entrance

Staelens said its hoped the Tower Green Fair becomes an annual event.

“Whatever little things we can do make me feel great,” she said.