Earth Day Festival: A Celebration of Diversity and Unity of our World

Executive Summary:

The realities of growing inequality, political stalemate, and climate disruption just scratch the surface of global issues we face today. It is clear that the current system doesn’t work for the vast majority of people on the planet, and we need to work toward something better. Elected officials across the globe are operating on agendas rooted in fear that divide us rather than unite us. In these increasingly polarized times, there is a dire need to build connectivity and solidarity in our local communities.

In order to address sustainable and equitable solutions, barriers between the way we view our environment, society, government, and economy must be challenged. The University of Washington builds outstanding opportunities for students through world-class academic departments and an impressive array of organizations that engage students’ varying interests; however, there are few mechanisms that facilitate lasting interdisciplinary connection and collaboration within the UW community.  While campus events like sporting events, artistic performances, lifestyle events, and talks create significant cultural value, there is a largely untapped opportunity to produce an event that brings together many of these elements, while facilitating discussion, exploration, and networking in pursuit of a more sustainable future.

For the past year, the UW Sustainability Action Network (UW SAN) has been building a collaborative campus network that engages and empowers diverse perspectives to drive collective action. UW SAN is comprised of an administrative team and an executive council representing eight student organizations. The campus-wide Earth Day event has emerged as an opportunity to showcase and expand this growing network by igniting awareness, engagement, and action beyond the same few who are typically involved in the sustainability conversation. This showcase will combine arts and performance with exhibits and activities in a “festival” type model to accomplish this widespread engagement.

UW SAN, in partnership with the UW Sustainability Office, has been developing an enhanced model of the annual Earth Day celebration to take place on the HUB Lawn. This event will feature student and local performances, PNW change-makers, sustainability projects, and campus organizations to demonstrate the power of intersectional collaboration and the current local efforts to achieve this. Arts and performance have an unparalleled ability to resonate with diverse audiences. By curating a program centered around those features, the UW SAN and its partner organizations hope to generate widespread student interest. The event will be a platform to further develop this growing network by providing opportunities for RSOs and and individuals to participate in the sustainability movement.

We are asking CSF to contribute $11,700 to this event to support performance and speaker honorariums as well as marketing materials. In order to build a world that puts people, communities and the planet first, we need to imagine what’s possible. We invite you to help us build an event that explores the realignment of our environment, society, government, and economy so that we can begin to envision those systems working better for the people and the planet.

Student Involvement:

The Earth Day event will be primarily organized and implemented by a team of student leaders. This team currently includes a 9-student planning committee and 8-student marketing team. Student volunteers will have the opportunity to be part of a large-scale event encompassing a cross-campus social movement through planning, outreach, marketing, accounting, and day-of set up of the event.

Partner organization EcoReps has committed to providing their team of 5-20 service learners for marketing and day-of-event support. SAN’s council organizations will provide additional volunteer support. We plan to further extend this volunteer network as need arises throughout the development of the program. Examples of potential opportunities for additional student involvement include illustration, design, and food programs. Outreach strategies include digital communication such as email and social media, presentations in classrooms and student organization meetings, and invitations to Earth Day event planning meetings.

The event’s programming itself will consist of diverse representation from artistic, advocacy, and sustainability focused RSOs. These student organizations will use their platforms on campus to spread the word to their communities. Tabling and performances by social justice-focused UW and community groups, culturally and environmentally-oriented interactive art, and environmental outreach through groups like WashPIRG will provide students with a wide array of opportunities to get involved. The range of perspectives and narratives will create an empowering space for students to explore the ways that their unique expertise and passions fit into the sustainability conversation.

Student coordinators will develop relationships with participating RSOs to ensure a clear understanding of the SAN mission. These partnerships will enable RSOs to effectively integrate into the program and hold valuable conversations with event patrons. They will be able to communicate their role in the sustainability movement and connect students with the many available campus resources (ie. involvement in projects, access to funding, etc).

List of project team and sub-teams

UW SAN Admin Team:

This team is the central coordinating body of UW SAN that will monitor the progress of the event throughout its development and execution. This team is dedicated to building an intersectional campus sustainability network and will be continually exploring strategies for plugging that network into the programming of the Earth Day event.

Scott Davis - Graduate in Urban Horticulture: Project Manager

Sky Stahl - Undergraduate in Business & Communications: Director of Events

Zoe Shadan - Undergraduate in Political Science & Communications: Director of Council

Sasha Jenkins - Undergraduate in International Studies: Director of Partnerships

Dutton Crowley - Undergraduate in History: Intern

Lance Bennett - Faculty in Political Science & Communications: Advisor


UW SAN Executive Council:

The SAN Executive Council is comprised of representatives from eight campus groups, dedicating its assemblage to SAN’s vision, mission, and values which will subsequently guide the conception of this year’s Earth Day event. Each of the council members are involved in different aspects of Earth Day, including event planning, marketing, and developing engaging exhibits with their RSOs. Throughout the planning process, the council will gather to share progress, discuss developments within the network, and brainstorm strategies for driving further student power into the event. Represented organizations currently include: EcoReps, WashPIRG, Students Association for Green Environment, UW Sustainability, Hip Hop Student Association, Net Impact, and CSF.


Earth Day Planning Committee:

Responsible for most aspects of the event planning including budgeting, fundraising, production and booking.

Sky Stahl - UW SAN: Event Coordinator

Zoe Shadan - UW SAN: Assistant Event Coordinator

Qifei Xu - Capitol Hill Block Party: Event Planner

Alexis Neumann - DXARTS: Art Curator

Sasha Jenkins - JSIS: Outreach & Exhibit Coordinator

Alex Urasaki - EcoReps: Outreach & Volunteer-Coordinator

Jasmine Leung - Earth Club: Outreach & Volunteer-Coordinator

Anneke Mulders - Foster School of Business: Accountant & Budget Manager

Ian Rose - CSF: Project Development


UW SAN Marketing Team:

This team is responsible for promoting the event and designing the marketing campaign. They will also design the branding of the event, so it exhibits the vision of holistic sustainability and leaves a strong and lasting impact.

Julian Stickley - UW SAN: Design Director

Kat Kavanagh - Net Impact: Brand Strategist

Wole Akinlosotu - HHSA: Content & Storytelling Strategist

Jen Louie - Net Impact: Strategist

Racquel West - WashPIRG: Campus Outreach & Storytelling Strategist

Keoni Moore - Design School: Graphic Design

Qifei Xu - Capitol Hill Block Party: Community Engagement & Analytics


UW Sustainability Office:

UW Sustainability will be the office that UW SAN and its teams work with most closely. This is a valuable partnership as it will help to maintain the successful model of Earth Day that has been put on by the UW Sustainability Office in the past while also providing the opportunity for UW SAN to increase student involvement and ideas for meaningful expansion of the event. SAN and UWS have made the following plan for working together:  

  • Weekly meetings to check progress. Each party will prepare a weekly memo summarizing the prior weeks’ developments.
  • SAN to handle programming
  • SAN to monitor accounts and make sure that program is in-line with budget
  • Toren Elste to interface with university stakeholders and external vendors
  • Daimun Eklund to integrate with student marketing committee by providing previous marketing timelines and assets, as well as plugging Earth Day marketing materials into official UW channels.
  • UWS to administer budgets
  • UWS to provide guidance throughout the project.
  • SAN and UWS to hold each other accountable for keeping up with timeline

Education & Outreach:

The marketing and branding component of the Earth Day celebration will be one of the most important tools in generating student interest and attendance. The Sustainability Action Network’s marketing committee will develop and implement strategies and content in pursuit of that goal. This strategy will be outlined and solidified in the remainder of Winter Quarter, to be launched at the start of Spring Quarter.

The proposed budget includes allocations for marketing materials, including video development and social media promotion. The marketing committee is currently working with several videographers to explore the possibilities of an engaging video to build excitement for the event. The team is exploring ways to create an artistic visual representation of SAN’s campus-wide vision. The video would have two versions: one for use before the event that specifically includes event details, and a second one that does not include the event details to serve as an ongoing marketing asset for SAN.

Arrangements have been made with UW Sustainability to plug Earth Day materials into official university channels and to supplement design support with their staff. UW Sustainability’s pre-existing Earth Day designs and marketing tools will be valuable assets for the marketing strategy and provide a framework from which the student marketing team can build.

Stakeholders and supporters of this event include a broad mix of departments and communities, generating widespread interest across campus and providing multiple channels for marketing efforts. We hope that by developing an engaging, diverse, and locally-focused program, UW students, faculty, and staff will be encouraged to attend the Earth Day event and subsequently support SAN’s network-building project. CSF’s sponsorship of this event will be an opportunity to demonstrate their critical role in this growing network.

Our education goals include:

  • Spreading understanding of a more intersectional definition of sustainability
  • Fostering connections between the various disciplines (art, music, environmental science, social justice, etc.) geared towards sustainable efforts in the environment, economy, society, and government
  • Raising awareness for existing local efforts to achieve this more sustainable community
  • Display and educate students on how they can get involved through UW, the community, or with personal initiatives

As an “Earth Day” celebration, the program should represent a vast array of culture and craft. Criteria for our selection of speakers and performers include:

  • Local emphasis
  • Representing diverse communities and cultures
  • Speaking to the intersections of sustainability


Local speakers we are currently reaching out to include:

Nikkita Oliver - Seattle attorney, social justice activist, and prior mayor candidate

Pramila Jaypal - Seattle Congresswoman

Ksharma Sawant - Seattle City Council

Sarra Tekola - Seattle Social Justice Activist

Lisa Graumlich - Dean College of Environment

Ana Marie Cauce - UW President


Student Performers we are considering:

UW Steel Band

UW Bollywood Dancers



Polynesian Island dancers


Local performers we are considering:

Paris Alexa

Otieno Terry

Honcho Poncho




Based on our current partnerships, specific reach communities include:

  • Environmental: Through collaborations with EcoReps, Earth Club, SAGE, and the College of the Environment.
  • Social Justice: Through active student involvement from WashPIRG and contributions from RETRO
  • Government/policy: Through active student involvement from within the Jackson School of International Studies
  • Economics: Through an exhibit from Active Market Readers, sharing the sustainability component of their quarterly market reports
  • Arts & Culture: Through partnerships with the Hip Hop Student Association and ASUW Arts & Entertainment. Collaborations within the Art & Design, Music, and DXARTS departments, as well as Cornish College of the Arts.
Environmental Impact:
  • Energy Use
  • Food
  • Living Systems and Biodiversity
  • Waste
  • Environmental Justice
Project Longevity:

Our goal is for this event to be pursued annually as a project that successfully engages students in a unique, empowering, and inclusive environment. The project should continually be improved in its ability to provide avenues for various campus organizations to contribute and be showcased. Because it so uniquely and appropriately aligns with the university’s values of sustainability and diversity, the evolution of this event should become a valuable asset to the university and the student body. This discussion of longevity involves two key aspects: future funding and administrative responsibility.

The contributing parties look to CSF’s 2018 contribution to this event as a “kickstarter” to launch this new vision. SAN is working closely with UWS and CSF staff to secure funding from other sources in future years. We plan to reach out to community organizations such as Whole Foods, PCC, Skanska Construction, City Arts, the Bullitt Center, and others that are are invested in sustainability. One idea is to set a goal this year to secure enough community sponsorships to match CSF’s contribution. This would provide a starting budget for the 2019 event. The student planning committee is currently developing materials to supplement this outreach.

UW Sustainability is hoping to reduce their responsibility for the Earth Day event over the coming years. As the event is based upon campus-wide collaboration, it may make sense for a range of academic departments to take on cooperative, administrative roles. With that aim, we are exploring ways for UWS to “pass the torch” through discussion with several stakeholders, including SAN, UW Sustainability, College of the Environment, the Center for Communications and Civic Engagement, and the Communications Department. These details are to be further discussed in the coming months.

Environmental Problem:

The societal and environmental struggles that our world faces are systematically intertwined in a downward spiral, necessitating far-reaching interdisciplinary and intercultural synergies to find impactful solutions. Above all else, Earth Day should seek to rebuild and rebalance our relationship with the natural world, and in doing so we must consider our predominant societal and economic habits as a global culture to drive real progress towards that goal. The unsustainable values that hurt our natural world (competition, consumption, marginalization, etc.) are hurting our local and global sense of community as well; lasting sustainability is not just about saving the trees. It is about rebalancing our relationships with each other and choosing to cooperate rather than conflict.

This concept is highlighted by the fact that the less-privileged communities of the world often see the most drastic effects of environmental injustices, such as the indigenous people of the Amazon. Residents of urban ghettos have more pressing issues to worry about than recycling. Refugees fleeing violent regimes need a roof over their heads. Environmental champions around the world are beginning to realize that it’s hard to talk about sustainability without talking about equity.

To build this inclusive movement, we must identify shared values that transcend our differences and work together to create a world that embodies those values. Although the UW has already made great strides towards sustainability, there is a need to address a lack of engagement and awareness of the interdisciplinary nature of sustainability in the larger student body.

Our goal for the 2018 Earth Day event is thus to promote a holistic understanding of sustainability in the UW community that recognizes not only the value of protecting the natural environment, but the need for social, political, and economic justice. Our keynote speakers will speak on a variety of issues and draw connections between them. They will inspire hope by offering steps that we can all take in the direction that we want to go. Poets of diverse cultural backgrounds will communicate these ideas by sharing their stories. Murals will depict the challenges we face and the solidarity that is required to overcome them. Exhibits will showcase the efforts that are currently being made on campus to address these issues and provide opportunities for students to get involved. Problems will be addressed, but will be coupled with solutions that we can work towards regardless of our race, gender, identity, income, or age.

Our goal is to foster mutual understanding and intrigue amongst one another in a way that has never been done before on campus. The event will spark conversation and encourage a re-evaluation of how our thoughts, global perceptions, and everyday actions can work towards being more socially, politically, economically, and environmentally sustainable. Students will also be able to explore ways in which the UW is already making strides towards sustainability and how they individually can get involved in this campus movement.

Explain how the impacts will be measured:

The Earth Day event will serve as a case study for measuring the effectiveness of the Sustainability Action Network. We hope to multiply existing sustainability efforts by making new connections between silos and exposing traditionally unaffiliated students to new ideas and opportunities. The event will be our first large-scale attempt to manifest this goal in a tangible setting. We plan to measure our impact in the following ways:

  • Attendance
  • Participation in interactive/collaborative art installations
  • Number of collaborating organizations (how many different sectors / disciplines)
  • Number of exhibiting organizations (how many different sectors / disciplines)
  • Photo documentation
  • Responses to on-site surveys that ask questions such as:
    • What does sustainability mean to you?
    • What did you learn that you didn’t know before?
    • Who do you plan on sharing this with?
    • What did you come to this event to see? What surprised you?

While not yet solidified, we are also working with several individuals and organizations to include the following components subject to additional commitments and funding:

  • Total waste-diversion (in alignment with the UW Climate Action Plan)
  • Sustainable food initiative
    • Campus / local vendors
    • Use of bio-gas food cart (if complete)
    • Locally-sourced ingredients
    • Compostable materials
  • Solar-power
    • Stage
    • Food vendors as needed
    • Other exhibits as needed


Total amount requested from the CSF: $11,700
This funding request is a: Grant
If this is a loan, what is the estimated payback period?: 0months


Talent estimates are based on previous experience and conversations with faculty.
CATEGORYITEMCOSTFunding Source: CSF / otherNotes
Staging3000CSFQuote from Pyramid Staging
Sound2900CSFQuote from Morgan Sound
Labor Variance400otherAllowance in case of schedule change
30x30 tent1,200otherQuote from Cort Party Rentals
Banners/signage1,500otherStage backdrop, hanging banners. Based on estimate from previous experience
Performers1300CSFApprox. 5 Performers @ Approx. $100-$500 each
Speakers700CSFApprox. 5 keynote speakers @ Approx. $100-$200 each
Visual artists800CSFBudget to pay for materials and commissions
Video1500CSFQuote from local videographers
Social Media300otherSponsored posts
Photography300other2 photographers @ rate from previous Earth Day
10% Contingency1500CSFIn case of unexpected costs. To be returned if unused.
Fire Permit400other

Non-CSF Sources:

Total expected from other funding sources: $5,250
ASUW Special Appropriations3000Pending
GPSS Special Appropriations750Pending
GPSS Diversity500Pending
College of the Environment1000Pending
Bridges CenterTBD(funds pledged, amount undetermined)
Project Completion Total: $16,700


Please see theUW Sustainability Section in Student Involvement to see the roles that we have outlined with them.
TaskTimeframeEstimated Completion Date
Obtain FundingJan-FebFeb 28
Secure VenueJan-FebFeb 28
Establish Floor PlanJan-FebFeb 28
Initial Graphic / PosterFeb - MarchMarch 1
Equipment RentalsFeb-MarchMarch 15
Programming / BookingJan - MarchMarch 15
Video DevelopmentMarch - AprilApril 1
Website goes liveMarchMarch 26
Final Graphics & Marketing MaterialsMarch - AprilApril 1
Volunteer CoordinationMarch - AprilApril 1
Exhibitor CoordinationFeb - AprilApril 1
Production MeetingsMarch - AprilApril 7
Marketing CampaignMarch - AprilApril 20