Earth Days Encourages a Green Campus and Community

Image Earth Days 2015 USD students taking part in Earth Days.

VERMILLION, S.D. -- Each April 22, Earth Day unites people around the world in working toward environmental protection and restoration. In Vermillion, the occasion is recognized in a way as unique as it is educational: with a full week of events known to the campus and community as Earth Days.

The University of South Dakota’s sustainability program and Greening Vermillion, the community sustainability organization, have devoted April 17-23 to celebrating and protecting the planet. People and businesses can come together to learn about local environmental issues and how to instigate change.

“There is a broad understanding that humans are having dramatic, and largely negative, impacts on our environment, and it is easy to feel powerless when faced with such large and complex problems,” said Meghann Jarchow, assistant professor of sustainability at USD, president of the Greening Vermillion board and the event’s overall coordinator. “Through Earth Days we hope to empower the Vermillion population to be positive agents of change for our environment.”

Featured guest speaker Jonathan Lundgren, Ph.D., is a research entomologist with the USDA Agricultural Research Service. He investigates ecologically based forms of managing insects and weeds and will be on campus to deliver two different presentations on Monday. The first takes place at 1 p.m. in Beacom 244 and will cover his findings on bees and pesticide risk; at 3:30 p.m., he will move to Churchill-Haines 101 to discuss how biodiversity relates to pest problems.

This year’s event begins with the Creation Care program on Sunday, which encourages local churches to focus on earth stewardship. Other happenings include showings at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. on Monday of the documentary film “This Changes Everything,” inspired by Naomi Klein’s bestselling book of the same name about seven communities impacted by climate change; Green Thursday on the Platz; the Earth Day Fair in the Muenster University Center on Friday; and new events such as Ufford Family Farm Fun Day. On Saturday, Greening Vermillion will present its findings on community visions for a more sustainable Vermillion. The organization received a South Dakota Community Foundation Innovation Grant in 2015 and will use Visioning Vermillion, a fun and interactive event, to showcase how the money will be spent.

Earth Days T-shirts can be purchased online for $13 through April 13. They will be available for pickup at any of the week’s events where the Sustainability Club will also have a limited number of shirts for sale. For more information and a full schedule of events, visit


USD's College of Arts & Sciences offers students a top-notch undergraduate liberal arts education in the humanities, social sciences and sciences as well as graduate programs that have earned USD distinction as a research university by the Carnegie Foundation. The college's more than 22,000 alumni include famous journalists, Hollywood screenwriters, novelists, a Nobel Prize winner, South Dakota governors, attorneys, physicians, justices of the state Supreme Court, distinguished university faculty and international humanitarians.


Founded in 1862 and the first university in the Dakotas, the University of South Dakota is the only public liberal arts university in the state, with 205 undergraduate and 73 graduate programs in the College of Arts & Sciences, School of Education, School of Law, Sanford School of Medicine, School of Health Sciences, Beacom School of Business and College of Fine Arts. With an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students and more than 400 faculty, USD has a 17:1 student/faculty ratio, and it ranks among the best in academics and affordability. USD’s 17 athletic programs compete at the NCAA Division I level.


Michael Ewald
USD News