The event -- co-sponsored by the Student Environmental Action Coalition, the Carolina Environmental Student Alliances and the UNC Sustainability Coalition -- included games, music, awards ceremonies and presentations.
Organizers hoped to increase knowledge of Earth Day and its meaning, and also to award campus environmentalists who have implemented change at UNC. "The purpose of the celebration is to spread awareness of the environmental issues surrounding us globally and locally," said CESA President Jennifer Walton.
Many posters covering the CESA table outlined President Bush's policies, which CESA members claim are anti-environmental, pro-industry and apathetic toward the issue of global warming.
Bush has decreased his campaign promises on clean air and has already reversed several of Clinton's initiatives on drinking water. And his administration is now in the process of withdrawing its support from the Kyoto Protocol, a 1997 global warming agreement.
SEAC members also made their voices heard by playing games for gift certificates and candy prizes. SEAC members used their posters and games to promote their two main projects -- preventing expansion of the Shearon Harris Nuclear Power Plant and promoting recycling on Franklin Street.
The game, which included knocking down a pyramid of soda and beer cans, represented SEAC's attempt to persuade all Franklin Street bars to recycle. All but four now recycle beer and liquor containers, a SEAC spokeswoman said.
The fun and games ceased momentarily as Nancy Suttenfield, vice chancellor for finance and administration, addressed the crowd.
Suttenfield reminisced about her experience with previous years' celebrations. "I was able to participate in the very first Earth Day celebration (at UNC) in 1970," Suttenfield said. She also said she appreciates UNC students' commitment to the environment.
Suttenfield commented on the Master Plan and its long-term goal to renovate and rebuild many of UNC's buildings and facilities during the next 50 years. "As we work to restore our campus and enhance our facilities, we have a great opportunity to be cognizant about the environment."