Colleges host No Impact Week



Allegheny held No Impact Week this week as part of a larger event that includes Edinboro University and Gannon University.

The larger Erie No Impact Week was designed to be a competition between local colleges and universities.

Sustainability Coordinator Kelly Boulton said she organized No Impact Week’s events over the summer.

Boulton said she oringially wanted to get other campus groups involved such as Greek Life and Religious Life, but she couldn’t get a hold of anyone over the summer.  Once school started, she said there just wasn’t enough time to schedule meetings with everyone, especially since the event was set to be the first week of October.

She said that despite the synchronized schedules and collaborative effort between the three schools, the week was treated as an individual event.

“If you compare Edinboro to Allegheny, it’s totally different student bodies, totally different sizes,” she said.  “The weeks are very different, but we are doing things to overlap.”

Each of the three schools began the week with a talk by Colin Beavan, author of No Impact Man.

The Black Family Foundation, an Erie based nonprofit organization, invited Allegheny, Gannon, and Edinboro to participate in this week’s initiative.

According to director of operations Devin Redinger, the nonprofit started collaborating with Edinboro University to create the Erie No Impact Week after they funded Beavan’s presentation at the university in 2009.  He said the organization has been funding green projects for more than ten years.

The presentation at Edinboro was the first time their organization had heard of Beavan.

“Everything he was working on ran right along with the projects we were working on at the time,” he said.

More than 130 students, faculty, and community members attended Beavan’s talk in Shafer Auditorium Monday night.  He spoke at Gannon University earlier that day, and finished his Erie tour at Edinboro University on Tuesday.

“There was a great audience there [Gannon], very kind and polite and they laughed at my jokes-the same thing as here,” Beavan said.  “There were a lot of thoughtful questions afterward.”

Dr. Michelle Homan, assistant professor of environmental science at Gannon, said that she was surprised by the turnout for Beavan’s talk.

“Colin had asked me how many people I though would show up for his talk and I said ‘Oh, I don’t know, 75’,” she said.  “We had about 250 people show up.”

In an email, associate professor at Edinboro University Dr. Melissa K. Gibson, said that about 800 students attended Beavan’s presentation on Tuesday.

“Colin’s presentation was focused for our First-Year Experience program,” she said. “The rest of our [No Impact Week] activities were open to campus and community.”

Program director for the No Impact Project Lilly Belanger said in an email that more students have already registered for the project online for part two than had signed up for part one.  As of Tuesday afternoon, she reported that there were roughly 1500 registrants.

All three schools also planned a “No Impact Man” film screening and night of smoothies made from bicycle-powered blenders.

Boulton said she first mentioned the idea to Gibson and Homan in one of their summer meetings.
“The smoothies started here,” she said. “They truly thought that it was so cool, of course, because it really is.”

The bicycle-powered blenders were also a featured event in last October’s campus-wide energy challenge.  

No Impact Week is the kickoff for Allegheny’s energy challenge.

Boulton said she and the Eco-Reps haven’t finalized the event’s agenda yet.