Earthstock, Stony Brook’s annual tradition celebrating sustainability, conservation and the environment, took place the week of April 17, culminating with the Main Festival on Friday, April 21. Mother Nature lent her full support to the university’s environmental effort as the springtime sun shined down on an array of vendors, presenters and performers on the Mall and SAC Plaza.
“We at Stony Brook are proud to be leaders in sustainability and environmental awareness,” said Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students Ric McClendon as he addressed those gathered at the main stage. “We’re constantly working to reduce our carbon footprint, conserve resources and promote eco-friendly practices throughout our campus and community. Today is not just about the actions we take as a university, it’s about everyone coming together to make a difference. We all have a responsibility to protect our planet and ensure that future generations can enjoy just as enjoy just as much as we do.”
Chris Gobler, Endowed Chair of Coastal Ecology and Conservation and Distinguished Professor in the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences (SoMAS), spoke about Stony Brook’s dedication to clean water and what it means to be a Seawolf during Earthstock.
“I’m very proud of the work we’ve done and I think the whole university should be proud of the essential role that Stony Brook has played in protecting the water of Long Island and playing a leadership role globally,” said Gobler, whose research focuses on aquatic ecosystems. “We’re showing the world what can be done to protect our natural environment and protect our water for human health. For all these reasons, when you think of the mythical Seawolf, I hope you’ll think about it as a defender of water for the good of public health and society.”
Other speakers included Tara Rider, senior lecturer in SoMAS and faculty chair for Earthstock, and Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine, whose district includes Stony Brook. “What you’re doing here is going to make a difference that will ripple for generations to come,” Romaine said. “You are our saviors for the future. Thank you.”
Several students were awarded Friends of the Ashley Schiff Preserve scholarships, named for the popular Stony Brook professor who championed environmental conservation. They include: Kellianne Ticcony, Marine Science and Sustainability Studies; Ocean Karim, Biology, Political Science; Jeanai La Vita, voice student, DMA; Kamryn Cardali, researcher, Environmental Studies; and Tajrian Sarwar, researcher, Coastal Environmental Studies.
View the festival photo gallery:
Ticcony was also awarded the Jeffrey Eng memorial scholarship in environmental studies for her work on Forever Wild, a compilation of creative student works celebrating the Schiff Preserve she created with Karim. Jeffrey Eng was a junior at Stony Brook when he lost his life in an automobile accident in 2006. His family established an endowed scholarship in his memory in 2007, which has been administered by the Department of Ecology and Evolution since 2008.
“My inspiration for this project was to highlight the many diverse student voices that care about Ashley Schiff and its preservation,” said Ticcony, a senior with a double major in Marine Science and Sustainability Studies and minors in Environmental Engineering and Ecosystems and Human Impact. “I want students to always have access to the preserve. I’m hoping Forever Wild can show exactly how valuable these spaces are for students, so that the preserve can gain legal protection.”
The day also included a variety of student performances and the traditional Duck Race on the Brook.
“Earthstock is our celebration of the Earth, and that was on full display this year,” said Aneil Persaud, assistant director of Student Affairs Events and Initiatives in the Office of Student Life. “The weather was gorgeous, the music was thumping and the students were all so happy and engaged with our off-campus exhibitors and small business food vendors. The support shown for our student organizations and overall support for sustainability and preservation through our elected officials really carried the theme of the day. This day was only made possible by our incredible team of committee members, volunteers, and partnerships through campus.”
— Robert Emproto