University of Maryland community members gathered at McKeldin Mall Friday to celebrate Earth Month and learn about sustainability at EarthFest.

The annual event — hosted by the Student Government Association’s sustainability committee, the Department of Resident Life, this university’s sustainability office and the Residence Hall Association — offered people an opportunity to learn how they can lead more sustainable lives.

“Sustainability is about people and the planet and those two have to coexist very well together for us to be able to exist well,” Lisa Alexander, Resident Life’s sustainability programs coordinator, said.

The event aimed to promote the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, a list of priorities from the United Nations that include access to clean water and climate action, according to Sam Briggs, the SGA’s sustainability director. The event placed a focus on good health and well-being, the junior government and politics major added.

Some activities at EarthFest included an insect petting zoo and games promoting ocean pollution awareness. University Recreation and Wellness also hosted a yoga session, while Terps Raising Pups participated in a puppy parade.

Several groups at this university, including Terp to Terp, tabled at the event.

Terp to Terp, this university’s campus reuse store, takes in clothing, appliance and room accessory donations from students and repurposes them for other students to use. Donation bins are located at service desks in dorms throughout the year. Students can take needed items for free from the shop by appointment, according to the organization’s website.

“We just want to keep recirculating things,” Alexander said.

[UMD set to expand glass recycling across campus]

This university’s chapter of the Sustainable Ocean Alliance hosted a demonstration for people to learn more about how they use the Earth’s resources.

Members of the organization filled plastic bottles collected from their weekly cleanups with papers with questions about sustainability. The organizers used trash pickers to fish the bottles out from the fountain on McKeldin Mall.

One question revealed how it takes about 450 years for plastic to decompose. Facts are important to understanding environmental issues as a whole, according to Onias Larios, a junior environmental science and policy major.

“We’re not gonna see the plastic island in the middle of the ocean, but some of the questions help some see how big the problem is,” Larios said.

[New conservation club at UMD hopes to unite students, tackle environmental issues]

Cecilia Vu, a sophomore civil engineering major, said she hoped the event will remind people not to take the climate for granted and instead preserve Earth for future generations.

“Even if we change one individual, it can make a really big impact on how people live their lifestyle,” Vu, the events and fundraising chair for this university’s Sustainable Ocean Alliance chapter, said.

Sustainability awareness will remain a top priority for leaders at EarthFest, including Elise Donnellan, a junior environmental science and policy major and SGA’s Greek residential representative and recruitment and retention coordinator.

Donnellan hoped EarthFest will inspire students to consistently engage in sustainable practices such as buying clothes in thrift shops and using reusable bags in grocery stores, she said.

“We just want to incorporate sustainability to the greater campus community, especially to students that aren’t normally engaging in it,” Donnellan said.