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Shannon Willison Service Project Paper Celebrate Auraria Campus Earth Day For the service learning project, Madison Strouse, Andrea Oswald, Tammy Tran, and I decided to work as a group on an on-campus Earth Day celebration. We began to correlate with Kyra Tarbell, from the Experiential Learning Center, in February on ideas that would get students involved in participating in an on-campus Earth Day. All of us met, brainstormed, and came up with solid ideas for the upcoming event. We came up with ideas such as composting workshops, getting guest speakers to come to campus and talk about energy efficiency, and talking with AHEC to see if faculty and students could do some planting in a designated area on campus. Our group started communication with the on-campus environmental sustainability group, SACAB, to see if we could partner with them on doing something for Earth Day. We also reached out to various organizations to find out if any might be interested in partnering with us and coming to speak to students. We communicated with Groundwork Denver, Denver Urban Gardens, CoPirg, and Denver Parks and Recreation. I met with Kyra several more times after the initial meeting to finalize a schedule so we could get to work on creating advertising for the event. AHEC agreed to provide materials, such as preparing flower beds, for planting. They also agreed to provide mulch for the service portion of the project so students can get the area ready for flowers to be planted. Kyra is creating do it yourself projects for student that finish planting early. They will have to option of making kites from plastic bags, making guitars out of


shoe boxes, etc. Groundwork Denver agreed to have a representative lead the energy savings workshop and a student from Anshultz Medical Campus will be coming to lead the composting workshop. The final schedule is as follows: 

Students can RVSP to Kyra via her email, Kyra.Tarbell@ucdenver.edu. (This is suggested but, not mandatory for attendance.)

All students wanting to participate will meet in the Tivoli commons at 10:30 am on April 22nd and Earth Day will end around 1:30 pm.

The service project will begin at 11:00 and go for about an hour.

Lunch (pizza or sandwiches) will be provided before the workshops begin.

The workshops will begin at 12:30 and go for 45 minutes to an hour. Students can choose one of 2 workshops. They can attend a composting or energy saving workshop.

Once the schedule for Earth Day was finalized, Andrea, Madison, Tammy, and I discussed what advertising materials should be used for the promotion of this event. Tammy and Andrea decided to do the social media and Madison and I decided to do the tangible advertising (i.e. flyers/brochures). My role in this project was to communicate with the sustainability club, SACAB, oncampus and create the brochure. SACAB was not an easy group to get a hold of. When reached them, they had not made any plans for doing anything for Earth Day. I told them about what we were doing and encouraged them to get involved in the event. I am sure we will be seeing many of the club members participating on the day of the event!


I did a lot of the communicating with Kyra as well. I sort of took on the role of facilitator between Kyra and the other girls in order to make sure everyone knew what was going on. It felt great to get to take the lead in an aspect of the project! Kyra and I finalized a schedule after the girls and I talked to various organizations to see if they would want to do anything on campus. Once the schedule was finalized, I emailed it to everyone and we all began working on advertising materials. Tammy made the facebook page and Andrea made the twitter page. Both turned out very nice! We are all on the pages, sending links to our friends and family, so that we can get more people to like the event and become followers. My advertising material was the brochure. I am quite new to making brochures but, the end result looks really nice and Kyra really likes it. We are putting the brochure in Experiential Learning Center so students can grab one if they need more information. I recently got an email from Kyra saying that we should do a take away brochure as well that can provide the students who participate in the event with tools on how to get more involved in environmental volunteer work. I will attach the original brochure and the take away brochure. This service project addresses the issue of people lacking knowledge about environmental issues. Most people around the world do not understand that the way individuals treat the environment is hurting the ecosystem and degrading the land we all live on. Human’s cohabitate the earth with other organisms and that is often overlooked by peoples own selfinterest. How people are affecting the ecosystem needs to be brought to the forefront. Teaching students how to do small things like save energy and composting are easy tasks that can make a big difference. If everyone cared about the environment and realized we are all stewards to the plant, there would not be an expansive loss of biodiversity, degradation of natural habitats, and people wasting and consuming mass amounts of energy.


Last semester I took a class called Environmental Communication, taught by Larry Erbert. Some of the things I learned in that class have changed the way I go about my everyday life. I am passionate about issues related to climate change and species distribution. Researching these issues has proven to me that there is a real problem going on. The amount of fossil fuel burning, deforestation, and other industrial processes has placed an unsafe concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere that continues to increase along with other greenhouse gases. It is clear that human influences will continue to alter the climate well into the 21st century (Parry, 2007). Human influences have created a vast amount of changes beyond the foreseeable future. Animals are suffering and so are ecosystems. Coral reefs that once housed hundreds of thousands of species are dying off at a very rapid pace. At least 30% of reefs, globally, have been severely damaged and with the rising temperature in the water, coral reefs will not be making a comeback anytime soon (Janetos, 2008). The high levels of CO2 in the atmosphere directly affect the bleaching of coral reefs and the animals that live there. Greenhouse gases are also contributing to melting of the polar ice caps which, leads to sea-level rise. “A rising sea level and sea level rise can be detrimental to some coastal areas more than others� (Burkett, 2005). If sea-level were to rise in the US, many coastal areas would be underwater, including the Gulf of Mexico. In marine ecosystems, timing of plankton booms is shifting and fish are starting to move poleward. When these shifts take place, widespread ecological changes occur. In the Gulf of Alaska, there is dramatic increase in salmon production (Beaugrand, 2004). Individuals may not care about these statistics but, people who make their living off of marine fisheries are losing


business because of the negative effects taking place in ecosystems that are causing animals to move other places. All of the things mentioned above may not seem like people are at fault for these issues but, we are. People do not look at the big picture of where their waste is going and how their gas emissions are effecting the environment. Humans produce a huge amount of waste every year and much of what is produced goes into landfills or even worse, the ocean. The amount of green house gases in the atmosphere is solely related to fossil fuel burning and the emissions people give off from things like driving. Everyone needs to be more aware to the big picture of how the environment is affected by us. Environmental change can start with changing the littlest things in our daily lives. If more people can learn about the benefits of composting, recycling, saving energy, using public transportation, and actually practice these things, the world would become a more inhabitable place to live for animals and people alike. Andrea, Madison, Tammy, and I utilized twitter, facebook, brochures, and flyers for our advertising materials. My specific role in the creation of the advertising material was the brochures. I made two brochures. One can be used if students want more information about Earth Day. The other one is for students who participate in the event. The second brochure gave suggestions and websites on how students can be more eco-friendly and volunteer for other environmental organizations. I will attach both brochures and the flyer in the dropbox with this paper. The social media sites can be found by following these links: http://twitter.com/#!/AurariaEarthDay http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/pages/Celebrate-Earth-Day-at-Auraria/217294594954340


Andrea and Tammy did a great job with the social media and it was all of our responsibility to promote these outlets and get people to follow and like these sites! This service learning experience has taught me to value teamwork. I have never truly enjoyed group projects because they all involve meeting outside of the classroom, trying to correlate schedules, and making sure everyone has an even workload. I realize that teachers do group assignments to simulate what projects in our careers will be like but, sometimes I feel like certain projects would be easier done alone, even if that means more work. Being a part of a dedicated, motivated group for this project has changed my outlook on teamwork. We all worked very well together and made sure that no one felt overwhelmed. Sure, we all had to change our schedules around a little in order to meet met few times but, it never felt like a chore to get us together. All of us have specialties and things we excel at when we discussed splitting up the advertising materials. Andrea and Tammy have fantastic social networking sites and we are all working together to get those promoted. Madison and I did a really nice job with the flyer and brochures and will be helping Kyra hang them up strategically around campus. Our cohesion as a team has been enjoyable and has made this big project a lot less intimidating. This experience makes me understand how good it feels to volunteer. Getting to help and work with Kyra has been a reward in itself and helping bring others together makes me feel good. Volunteering has given me the chance to give my skills, experience, time, and energy to a bigger purpose that is worthwhile and on a topic I am sincerely passionate about. The contribution my group and I are giving to campus makes me feel self-fulfilled. Though the event


does not take place until next week, I am excited and looking forward to attend something I have helped create! Service learning has offered me the opportunity to try news tasks and take on new roles. This experience will help me in the future as well. It has provided me with practice working with a variety of people and experiences, as well as adjusting to new situations. This service learning project has made me a better communicator too. It is important to keep everyone I have worked with up-to-date and in the circle of what is going on with the project. This experience is something that I am proud to put on my resume and is relatable to the field of work I want to go into! Communication is such an essential part of my life and I do not always take the time to recognize that. I believe that being a good communicator helps build relationships, network, and be able to function productively in everyday life. Getting to practice this in a service learning environment is going to be marketable later on. I have learned that having good communication skills is a huge asset in a business environment. Getting to practice and improve on my communication during this project has been a remarkable journey and I feel as though I am now communicating better with my boss and within my job!


Works Cited Parry, M. L. (2007). Climate Change 2007: Impacts, adaption, and vulnerability. UK: Cambridge University Press.

Janetos, A.C. (2008) Biodiversity. The effects of Climate Change on Agriculture, land resources, water resources, and biodiversity. Washington DC: A Report by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program.

Burkett, V. R. (2005) Nonlinear dynamics in ecosystem response to climatic change: case studies and policy implications. Ecological Complexity, 2, 357-394.

Beaugrand, G. (2004) The North Sea regime shift: evidence, causes, mechanisms and consequences. Progress in Oceanography, 60, 245-262.


Service Project Paper