UM celebrates 40 years of Earth Day

Set to begin with numerous community events, Earth Day is being celebrated at the University of Miami with a number of activities hosted by student organizations that promote environmental sustainability.
The 40th anniversary conference of the first Earth Day celebration at the University of Miami will be held on Thursday.
The theme of the conference is “Mending Miami: Fixing the Environmental Destruction of South Florida.”
“This will be the best Earth Day UM has had since the 1970s,” said Richard Weisskoff, a professor in the Center for Ecosystem Science and Policy at the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. “There will be movies, speeches, awesome food, as well as local and community involvement. The symposium is UM’s cornerstone of Earth Day because it honors the founders by bringing the first Earth Day speakers back.”
Among the keynote speakers are Joe Browder, a Washington, D.C. consultant active in creating Biscayne National Park and the Big Cypress Preserve, and Ross McCluney of the Florida Solar Energy Center. Both were at the 1970 conference.
Other speakers include representatives of the Sierra Club, the Coalition of Immokalee Workers, Lee’s Justice (Broward), Urban Environmental League of Greater Miami, Fertile Earth Foundation; Sails for Sustenance, Urban Paradise and Friends of Virginia Key.
The conference will be held in the Lower Lounge of the University Center from 6 to 9 p.m.  It is free and open to the public and the event will be catered by Chick’N Grill.
Sophomore Tiffany Stone is one of the many students excited about Earth Day.
“I love participating in all of the activities,” she said. “I think it’s great when the whole school gets involved and shows their appreciation to nature.”
Other Earth Day events are happening on campus Thursday. For example, Random Acts of Kindness is hosting the annual Hug the Lake event on the banks of Lake Osceola from 12:15 to 12:30 p.m. Hundreds of students, faculty and staff are expected to join hands to demonstrate UM’s commitment to the environment.
Free T-shirts commemorating the event will also be handed out.
Rebecca Zimmer may be contacted at

For more information on how to get involved with Earth Day, call the UM Butler Center for Service and Leadership at 305-284-4483.