University Celebrates 'Earth Semester' in Honor of 50th Earth Day

February 5, 2020

In a cross-collaboration effort between Academic Affairs and the Office of Sustainability, the annual Earth Month celebration has expanded to ‘Earth Semester’ to honor the 50th Earth Day.

Traditionally celebrated on April 22, Earth Day has been recognized since 1970, making this year’s a half-century milestone. In recent years, the University has celebrated Earth Month to increase awareness beyond one day. Each year, the list of events grows larger. Last year marked the largest event yet, with the Earth Day festival in Belk Plaza. 

“We hope that by expanding from a day, to a month, to a semester, the campus community will start to recognize the impact of sustainable practices on our planet and make year-round changes on campus and at home,” said Mike Lizotte, University sustainability officer.

This year’s Earth Semester includes campus-wide events hosted by faculty, staff and students, all with sustainability-focused topics. Some events include partnerships with state and regional organizations. Dr. Nicole Peterson, associate professor of anthropology, led the planning for Earth Semester while serving as a Provost’s Fellow.

“Earth Semester made a first impression in Fall when Academic Affairs published a list of sustainability courses for students to consider during registration. Since January, we have been promoting many stimulating speakers, films and discussions that our faculty generated to help us understand people and our planet,” said Peterson.

“I want to acknowledge those faculty who have already adopted a sustainability-focus to their courses, and challenge other faculty to provide stimulating speakers, discussions and films throughout this semester,” said Lizotte.

Some highlighted events later in the semester include:

  • “Particle Falls” - March 6, 13, 20 and 27 - Live art performance meets environmental science as Andrea Polli's "Particle Falls: Air Made Visible" returns to Charlotte.
  • Annual Tree Planting - March 19 - Join the Facilities Management Department in planting trees around campus. 
  • Earth Day Festival - April 1 - Celebrate the 50th Earth Day by visiting the festival in Belk Plaza. Event will include vendors and food.
  • Campus Cleanup - April 9 - Join the Office of Waste Reduction and Recycling in the semi-annual campus cleanup. Bring your friends and/or colleagues and help beautify the campus by collecting litter. 
  • Earth Optimism CLT - April 22 - Co-hosted with the Carolina Raptor Center, this event is the first Charlotte offering of the Smithsonian Institution's Earth Optimism series, showcasing local, replicable success stories for saving the planet.
  • Gardens and Verses - April 23 - For the third year, the English Department is collaborating with the Botanical Gardens for performances that focus on the relationship between humans and the non-human world.
  • Party for the Planet - April 28 - The Earth Club is sponsoring this student gathering to cap off Earth Semester. 

A full listing of Earth Semester events can be found online. A calendar view of events, along with other information can be found at