November 25, 2020

Local Harvest, Trailnet and Earthdance Farms come to Webster, encourage campus sustainability

Senior business management major Matt Moore was skeptical when he walked into the UC presentation room Thursday, Feb. 16. He saw a stationary bicycle with a blender attached to the back wheel. With some coaxing, Moore chose different frozen fruits and juices to be the ingredients in his homemade smoothie.

“This would be an awesome household item,” Moore said as he got on the bike and started pedaling. The rotation of the wheel spun the blade of the blender, creating his smoothie.

SEAN SANDEFUR / THE JOURNAL Trailnet's "smoothie bike" makes fruit smoothies for students during Webster Sustains Week.

Trailnet, an environmental organization, owns the bike-powered smoothie machine, one of the activities held during Webster Sustains week. Webster Students for Environmental Sustainability (WSES) sponsored last week’s sustainability-related activities.

“Our goal was to educate the students about sustainability and educate them on how and why to help the environment,” WSES president Lindsey Heffner said.

Trailnet’s aim is to promote healthy lifestyles. Along with the bicycle, Marielle Brown and Jonathan Roper from Trailnet were there Thursday to provide information about bike commuting. They have visited other local schools like WashU and SLU with the bike-powered smoothie machine.

“It’s a fun way to get people interested in biking,” Brown said. “We hope to use it as a tool to start conversations and talk to people about biking.”

In addition to the bike-powered smoothie demonstration on Thursday, representatives from Old North Restoration and EarthDance Farms spoke Monday, Feb. 13, about local food. The event was co-sponsored by Webster Initiative for Land Development (W.I.L.D.) Gardeners and was catered by Local Harvest, which provided local vegetables and dips.

“The reason I wanted to start the week with a food day is because a lot of people think sustainability is only for certain people,” WSES communications officer and secretary Erin Hindalong said. “But everyone eats everyday. There shouldn’t be such a disconnect between what people eat and where they get their food.”

Other events from Webster Sustains were DIY crafts and a talk from Ed Spevak from the St. Louis Zoo on the importance of bees as pollinators. Representatives from Straight Up Solar and Renew Missouri spoke about solar panels, as well. Heffner said some the events throughout the week had a low attendance.  These events were not as successful as local food day and the bike-powered smoothie machine.

“We’ve always had trouble with advertising our events,” Heffner said. “I’m not really sure why it didn’t go as well as we hoped. If we could find something to amp people up about the environment as much as we are it would be better.”

No one showed up to the DIY crafts event or the solar panel talk, and only two people showed up to Wednesday’s bee discussion. Still, Heffner said she, sustainability coordinator Brad Wolaver and adjunct professor Jeff DePew learned a lot of useful information and will be working to get solar panels on the roof of Sverdrup in the future.

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