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The Native American Student Organization (N.A.S.O), Trader Joe’s representatives, students participating in their global climate change class, and many more gathered on Tower Lawn under the shining sun for a breezy Earth Day with performances, interactive displays and a petting zoo.
The SJSU community came together to watch Smokey Bay Dancers from the Indian Health Center of Santa Clara celebrate “Mother Earth.” However, people were reminded that the event was also participatory as a drummer encouraged the crowd to grab the hand of someone next to them for a friendship dance.
N.A.S.O invited the Smokey Bay Dancers to SJSU to participate in the Earth Day festivities and educate students about the Native American culture in San Jose. “We want to let them (the SJSU community) to know we (Native Americans) are here on campus,” said Bethany Richmond, ’14 Psychology. Richmond, treasurer of N.A.S.O and part of the Kumeyaay tribe, also led an interactive bracelet-making activity. The bracelets, made of colored beads—red, white, black and yellow—were representative of the four directions: east, south, west and north. According to Richmond, the four directions represent “ways of life” and have certain significance to the many Native American tribes.
Other booths represented global climate change courses, seeking to educate students about green roof efficiency and tap water. Shaleesha Walker, ’15 Psychology, represented her global climate change group with a green roof display. Walker said a green roof is an energy efficient roof covered with grass or plants that can keep a building warm during the winter and cool during the summer. She and her classmates wanted to encourage students to consider installing a green roof at their homes or “impact change at SJSU to have a green roof installed on a building, like Dudley Moorhead.”
Take Back the Tap, a national campaign that is part of Food and Water Watch, was popular as students lined up to fill their little tasting cups with the different types of water and complete the surveys. Student organizer Adam McAndrews, ’15 Environmental Science, said he and his group mates for his global climate change course set up Take Back the Tap booth to bust some of the myths surrounding tap water. Students took an introductory survey, blindly tasted the water and took a follow-up survey. Though McAndrews said the results seemed pretty even for tap and bottled water, the group wanted to make sure students left the booth with more information about water.