While some people may be more excited to celebrate national “Dance like a Chicken Day” (May 14) or “Talk like a Pirate Day” (September 19), on April 22, Illinois State University’s Office of Sustainability will be celebrating our favorite holiday, Earth Day. This special day dedicated to our beautiful planet is not only a good reminder that you live on Earth, but it also provides transparency for our Office. We spend a ton of time in our office working on projects that affect students, but Earth Day provides an opportunity to interact with them.
We have been working all Spring semester on a variety of events that will happen throughout the month of April, but it took a bit more time to develop our Office’s big Earth Day campaign. This year we decided to engage students through a medium that is most familiar to them: social media. Gathering students together to work on a project in the middle of a school day, right before finals, may be difficult, but that doesn’t mean students at Illinois State don’t privately celebrate this day. For this reason we are asking that ISU students get on Twitter and tweet @SustainISU; telling us how they are celebrating Earth Day.
As an undergraduate at ISU, my friends and I used to make a point to get together and enjoy a meal outside on Earth Day. Another friend of mine used the day to plug recycling to anyone that would listen (although I think she may do this on a regular basis). While I have the opportunity to share some of my experiences here, I want you to share your experiences with us on Twitter. Using 140 characters or less or a photo, you can tweet @SustainISU at any point on April 22, 2013. The best part about this—you’re doing something for our campus and planet, AND you have the opportunity to win eco-friendly prizes. Our Office will be randomly selecting students that tweet in to win prizes such as our grand prize: a Schwin S1 cruiser-provided by Bloomington Cycle and Fitness, and several others (solar jars, gift cards, etc.).
This is our first foray into social media campaigning, and we’re looking forward to meeting many new students by enhancing our online presence. Social media is not only appealing to us because so many students are on websites like Facebook and Twitter, but because it provides an opportunity for our Office to be even more sustainable. Other than creating some signage to market this event, we’re keeping our carbon footprint down by keeping everything online. And our gifts are designed to keep your carbon footprint down: the bike provides transportation to campus and around the community, the solar jars provide a renewable source of energy, and the gift cards support local businesses that use locally made products.
Obviously we hope that our Office receives recognition and attention for putting together a Twitter contest, but we also hope to develop relationships with students. I’m excited to read the tweets we will receive on April 22, but what I’m really looking forward to are the tweets we receive on a daily basis.