‘Best Student Group’ Given To LEAP During One Earth Party

Members of LEAP celebrate at the One Earth Party

Members of LEAP enjoy their win for best student group award from the Hamilton County Environmental Services.

CINCINNATI — The Leaders for Environmental Awareness and Protection, a new student organization started at the University of Cincinnati in October 2005, received the best student group award from Hamilton County Environmental Services Saturday.

UC students and other environmentally conscious Cincinnatians flocked to the One Earth Party at Sawyer Point, which ran all day on Saturday.

The award, the Greater Cincinnati Earth Coalition environmental Award for Earth Day 2006 for Best Student Group, was given for LEAP’s contribution towards environmental conservation and protection.

Holly Christmann, the co-chair for the Greater Cincinnati Earth Coalition, presented the award.

Only five awards were given out in years past, but with the creation of LEAP, a sixth award was created for the best student group, according to Christmann.

LEAP received the award as a result of their meet-and-greets and their entry into Recycle Mania, a recycling competition between universities that began in 2001, Christmann said.

“This is the first year that UC has been involved in the program,” she said.

According to Autumn Garrison, the graduate advisor for LEAP, about 30 students from UC went to help at the event.

Earth Day began in 1970 as a day for Americans to recognize the need for a cleaner environment, according to the EPA.

Now, Earth Day is celebrated all over the globe.

Marla Frank escorts Dustin Hoehn as dog

LEAP vice president Marla Frank escorts Dustin Hoehn as a recycling dog to interact with children and guests at the One Earth Party.

“Cincinnati first celebrated Earth Day at Sawyer Point in 1990, but the event was then moved to Fountain Square for years,” said Pati Schultz, who is with the public affairs office at the EPA. “In 1996, the EPA joined with the Earth Coalition and we came back to Sawyer Point and have been here for five years.”

One student who attended the event, Dustin Hoehn, wore a dog costume and interacted with children and other passers-by while being led by Marla Frank, the vice president of LEAP.

“LEAP also participates in Keep Cincinnati Beautiful and in Return the Warmth, a program which turns plastic bottles into fleece coats for children,” Frank said.  “The organization is also working with Student Government to improve recycling efforts on campus next year.”

Garrison said the awards ceremony served as the prelude to “Earth Week,” a series of events scheduled to be held on UC’s McMicken Commons starting on Monday.

The activities are scheduled each day between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., and are being sponsored by LEAP, Hamilton County and other non-profit organizations, Garrison said.

On Monday, students will be dumpster diving in white suits and respirators to draw attention to the issue of recycling, Garrison said.

Hamilton County will also provide information about recycling and a basketball hoop will be set up where people can shoot hoops with their recyclable.

Garrison said the Ohio Office of Energy will provide UC with specific information about energy on Tuesday, and the Dorm Energy Challenge will also be promoted.

A local band is scheduled to perform as well.

LEAP members work an information table at One Earth Day

LEAP members work an information table at One Earth Day in Sawyer Point.

Wednesday’s focus will be on transportation and will feature information about alternative fuels and vehicles, Garrison said.

Two to three hybrid vehicles, a large Metro bus powered by Soy Bio Diesel and information about the new UC shuttle system will also be displayed, Garrison said.

Earth Week will come to a close on Thursday when the focus turns to organic foods.

Because we were born organic, Garrison said, the focus will be on how to distinguish between good and bad foods, and how to live a healthier life.

LEAP’s goal is to educate people at UC and to help out other environmentally conscious organizations where needed, as they did at the One Earth Party on Saturday, said Frank.

Originally published in the News Record on April 24, 2006.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

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