FHSU goes green with September events



09/14/15 rr

From yoga to square dancing, Sustainability at Fort Hays State University's September events show there is more to going green than planting trees -- but they do that, too.

Sustainability Coordinator Andree Brisson leads the sustainability initiative as well as the Earth Rise! Living and Learning Community, a group of first-year students who participate in classes and activities relating to environmental issues.

Brisson said that all events are open to the public.

"We want diversity," she said. "We're at a critical period when we need to educate ourselves and make sustainable decisions based on that knowledge."

The initiative and learning community will host yoga with Awaken Yoga Fitness at noon Wednesday, Sept. 16, on the FHSU Quad. Traci Pfannenstiel, owner of Awaken Yoga Fitness and Boutique in Hays, will lead barefoot yoga without mats.

"Come as you are," said Brisson. "You don't have to dress in yoga clothing. Take your shoes off and go in the grass."

Brisson said that Sustainability at FHSU offered yoga on the Quad during its Earth Day celebration last year and received a positive response.

"It gives people a way to connect with the earth in a different way," she said.

The learning community and sustainability initiative will team with the Biology Club, Department of Biological Sciences, Residential Life and Physical Plant for the Custer Hall Tree Planting and Big Creek Clean Up at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 24, on the Custer Hall lawn.

Brisson said that several organizations have done this themselves, but it will be the first time the Sustainability Initiative will coordinate it.

"This allows us to share in expenses and manpower," she said.

Volunteers will plant trees on the Custer lawn and by McMindes Hall and clean up Big Creek around Jellison Bridge.

Sustainability at FHSU will close September with a field trip to the Prairie Festival from Sept. 25 to Sept. 27 at the Land Institute in Salina. The institute researches perennial grain crops and polyculture farming that more closely resembles prairies.

The festival consists of sustainability talks from nationally and internationally renowned experts, square dancing and yoga. Weekend lodging is camping.

Brisson said that last year five students went to the festival, and most of them plan to attend again in addition to eight students who will attend for the first time.

Brisson said that last year one of the girls who attended was Chinese. "She had never camped, square danced or done anything like this," said Brisson. "She loved it."

This year, a student from the Bahamas will attend, and Brisson said she is excited to provide an experience he could not find anywhere else.

Registration for the festival is still open, and anyone is welcome to attend. For more information about the festival, visit https://landinstitute.org/events/calendar-events/prairie-festival-2015.

To learn more about Sustainability at FHSU visit www.fhsu.edu/sustainability or their facebook page at www.facebook.com/FHSUsustainability.


Photo caption: Kenneth Bangert, president of Students for Sustainable Ideas, and Andree Brisson, sustainability coordinator, hugging the state's Champion Blue Spruce on FHSU's campus.

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