UK Happenings

Celebrate Earth Day at UK

Kenton Sena hosted a tree-planting for his ecology of middle-earth class and environmental and sustainability studies on April 16, 2024. Mark Cornelison | UKphoto
Kenton Sena hosted a tree-planting for his ecology of middle-earth class and environmental and sustainability studies on April 16, 2024. Mark Cornelison | UK Photo

LEXINGTON, Ky. (April, 22, 2024) — Today marks the 55th annual celebration of Earth Day, the worldwide event that raises awareness of the need to protect Earth’s natural resources for future generations. 

University of Kentucky’s Campus Sustainability Officer Shane Tedder says that although sustainability is a year-round effort for UK, during April the university hosts various environmentally focused events that bring the community together. 

“Earth Day is a catalyst and inspiration for organizations both on campus and in the community to host events that highlight and promote environmental awareness and environmental stewardship. It’s great opportunity for everyone to be a part of sustainability-related solutions,” Tedder said. “In the two decades that I’ve been here, I have seen sustainability shift from a primarily student driven priority to something that is really fully integrated across the various activities of the university.” 

The remaining UK Earth Month Events 2024 include litter clean-ups, film screenings, terrarium workshops and more. The UK and Lexington communities are invited to take part in all of these events. 

"While I strive to celebrate and appreciate the Earth each and every day, I believe that Earth Day can be an important tool in creating the spaces people need to start getting involved," said Callie Dickman, director of sustainability for the UK Student Government Association. "I am excited to be planning a showing of Wall-E on campus for Earth Day, as well as a Picnic for the Planet later that week. The picnic will feature a climate card game that walks people through a conversation about climate change, and I think Earth Day is all about creating those safe spaces for people to talk openly about their fears and hopes around climate to find resiliency."

Events can also be found in the Lexington community here.  

“Earth Day is a bit of a phenomenon and has certainly grown over the last five and a half decades to be a global rallying point for people to tune in on environmental issues,” Tedder said. “I think it still has a place of importance as being a day that can highlight that.” 

Outside of the Earth Day celebrations and events, UK Sustainability is working on an updated sustainability plan. The intent is that it be released to campus for review and carried out through 2030.

Guiding principles of the plan include: 

  • Making sustainability a part of the student experience 
  • Reinforcing the university’s commitments to our people  
  • Decarbonizing our operations 
  • Becoming a zero-waste campus 
  • Modeling environmental excellence 

Additionally, student-run groups, such as the Energy Club, have been working to receive funding to install additional solar picnic tables to go on Alumni Commons. 

Visit UK’s sustainability blog WholeSum for updates on all Earth Day events happening this month. 

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.