Earth Fest brings attention to environmental protection during Earth Week; Kent Wired; April 24, 2024

Earth Fest brings attention to environmental protection during Earth Week, by Kent Wired

April 24, 2024
Tables set up at the annual Earth Fest celebration April 22, 2024.

Kent’s Office of Sustainability highlighted ways to protect the environment during their annual Earth Fest on Monday with the help of the Earth Month Committee and Kent Flea & Makers Market.

“I think the importance of Earth Fest is making sure, especially in the spring, just to bring to people’s mind our relationship to the planet and our local environment,” Melanie Knowles, Kent State’s sustainability manager said.

The nature-based festival was held indoors for the past several years, leading to an exponentially larger crowd coming out to attend this year’s event, which was held outside.

“This is the first time in years that we have been able to be outside because the weather hasn’t always cooperated,” Knowles said. “It’s a good time just to celebrate and just refresh our memories as to why this is important as we start coming back outdoors in the warmer weather.”


Over 50 organizations set up tables on Risman Plaza, gathering a large crowd of students, staff and locals looking to explore ways to get involved with restoring the planet.

Each organization shared their own way of sustaining the environment. Many did so through promoting bio-activism, sharing resources to help improve the environment and attracting attendees to volunteer in conserving their local habitats.

The Fabric Pantry, a student-run non-profit organization, focused on giving students and locals access to re-usable and affordable fabrics.

“We’re a circular organization that takes fabric donations from the community and then we distribute it to students,” Rowan Jackson, the secretary of the Fabric Pantry said. “Redistributing fabric and giving second hand fabric to students is much more sustainable because they aren’t going out, buying more, and influencing that cycle to keep going.”

Local off-campus organizations, such as Kent’s Environmental Council, were also in attendance. They hoped to increase awareness about effects on the environment and what people can change in their own homes to have a more positive impact. 

“We’ve participated in this event since it started,” Iris Meltzer, a member of the Kent Environmental Council, said. “Plus, we all tend to look like me, which is old, so this gives us an opportunity to interact with and educate the next generation.”

Their table included a doll house built to represent an all-sustainable household. From line-dried clothes to solar panels, the re-imagined structure was built to be more environmentally friendly.

Meltzer said students can be more sustainable by not using to-go cups and using more sustainable, reusable cups. She also recommended that if students have any control over their living situation, they should regulate their heating and cooling.

“Ohio has a history of extraction that only has short-term benefits for our economy and a lot of that money goes outside of our community,” Hans Kneuss, Eastern Ohio sustainable ag manager at Rural Action and Kent State alumni, said. “We really focus on trying to build a local community that works with the environment, with the long term goal of protecting our waterways and our health.”

Rural Action, a non-profit organization focused on building the economy in a sustainable way, attended Earth Fest in hopes of recruiting students and promoting conservation and sustainability in local communities.

“Sustainability to us means being sustainable environmentally but economically and socially as well,” Kneuss said. “It is really easy to get kind of overwhelmed by the larger [environmental] issues, but it is really about each person having a small impact, which results in a larger impact.”


Several other student-run organizations were in attendance at the festival, such as the Kent State Geological Society and Kent State’s Eco-Justice order.

“We all have different parts and relationships with the planet that we want to work on,” Knowles said. “So [Earth Fest] lets us see all the different roles that we play in trying to support our environment and our communities.”

Elaina Matricardi is a reporter. Contact her at

POSTED: Wednesday, April 24, 2024 10:01 AM
Updated: Friday, April 26, 2024 10:03 AM