Ethan Bachand ‘22
Chief News Editor
From April 20 until tomorrow, April 25, a variety of departments and student organizations at the College of the Holy Cross have put on Purple Goes Green Week in order to promote sustainability. The departments involved include the Chaplains Office, Facilities, Dining, and the newly appointed Sustainability Director Cathy Liebowitz. The student body was represented by the Eco-Action club as well as the Student Government Association (SGA).
Similar to how every other aspect of the College has adapted to online learning as a result of COVID-19, the aforementioned groups worked diligently to create a virtual program similar to the one planned for campus. With Earth Day scheduled on April 22, a schedule was created to revolve around the international celebration. Some of the events included: a Q&A about the Green Fund, a Climate Mitigation Strategy Session with HC Sustainability, and a Climate Change & Coronavirus Panel that is scheduled to take place this afternoon.
In an email correspondence with The Spire, Eco-Action Co-Chair Renee LeBlanc ’21 talked about the importance of this week: “Purple Goes Green Week is developed as a platform for the Holy Cross community to learn and engage with environmental issues. This year we are grateful to have our Director of Sustainability Cathy Liebowitz to make an impact on campus and join our community. Environmental injustice is a prominent issue that we want to highlight. Unfortunately, blacks are exposed to 56% more pollution than they produce, whereas whites experience 17% less pollution than they produce (PNSA). Pollution causes numerous health issues that weaken the lungs and increase the risk of death, particularly when exposed to viruses that attack the respiratory system such as COVID-19.”
LeBlanc continued her statement, saying, “We need to work together to create a society where everyone has clean air, clean water, access to healthcare, habitats are protected, and we limit our global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius. This week is to advocate for the transformation in our personal lives and policies the government must put in place to protect our planet for generations to come. You have an impact and we cannot do it without your help. The changes we are obligated to make require courage, hope, and sacrifice.”
SGA Co-Director of Environmental Concerns Emma Powell ’20 spoke about the importance of this week’s events still taking place virtually, saying, “COVID-19 has transformed our way of life. Still, climate change is a real and ongoing crisis. What I have learned most from transitioning my climate activism online is that people still care about protecting our planet. I have never been as connected with the Worcester community as I have in the past few weeks. Working with Sunrise Worcester, Holy Cross and students across the country has further kindled the hope I have at our ability to come together around climate justice. The coronavirus reminds us of our fleeting humanity and that reminds us of the need to protect our common future for generations to come.”
Although this year’s Purple Goes Green Week may be coming to a close, it is only the beginning of a greater role for sustainability on campus. With continued direction under Sustainability Director Cathy Liebowitz, who Powell described as “vital to this week and the future of sustainability at Holy Cross,” we are sure to see more Purple Goes Green Week in the years to come.
Cover photo courtesy of holycross.edu