Scripps’ 11th Annual Sustainability Fair: Students Drive Real Change, Admin Lacks Commitment


Abby Barahona ’25
Staff Writer

On April 27, Scripps students on their way to lunch were intercepted by a sea of white tents and tables on Bowling Green Lawn. In its 11th year, the Scripps Sustainability Fair organized clusters of environmental clubs and organizations, a jam-making station, a vegan food truck, and an environmentally focused art installation, producing a vibrant display of student solidarity for a more sustainable future.

This event was open to all from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m.. Fifteen student volunteers, led by Sustainability Coordinator Lauren Ng and intern Sydney Hamel ’25, worked shifts at the welcome booth throughout the day and assisted with activities. “I think it’s important to bring awareness to the things we can do to help the planet,” said student volunteer Bella Guizler Bonilla ’26. “Overall, it’s just a really fun experience getting the community together for this.”

Fellow volunteer Reyna Manriquez ’26 shared that she enjoyed learning about the different sustainability groups across the 5Cs. “It’s important to be informed of what the problem is and how you can fix that problem in your own bubble, which for us is Scripps,” she said.

Participants who tabled the event included 5C Urbanscape, Ocean Initiative Club, Scripps Green Bikes, Scripps Student Garden, the Robert Redford Conservatory, Inclusive Claremont, and the Hive. Scripps Facilities and Grounds, Divest Claremont Colleges, and Scripps Scrapps were also in attendance.

Students who checked in at the welcome booth received a piece of paper resembling a Bingo card, with each organization listed in a different square. Participants received a stamp for each table that they engaged with, and with six stamps they received two tickets: one for a meal from 5 Elementos vegan food truck, parked right on the lawn, and one to enter a raffle. Prizes included a free pass to the Botanical Gardens, an environmentally friendly water bottle, an eco-friendly notebook, or a bottle of Scripps’ infamous olive oil, produced from existing olive trees on campus and harvested by students and staff. KSPC 88.7, the 5Cs’ student-run radio station, fostered a lively atmosphere with feel-good music from start to finish.

“I feel like this year has really been a great improvement,” said Hamel. “It’s been great to see how the community has reacted to it and responded to it… I’m super proud of what we’ve done.”

New to the fair this year was artist and environmentalist Eva Montville, who parked her sustainable art installation on Bowling Green Lawn for the event. Community members were able to walk through “The Heart Locker,” which contained 40 “broken hearts” carved from manzanita root and hung on butcher hooks in a 10’ x 20’ space. Montville drove from Joshua Tree to share her sculptures and message of heartbreak over the destruction of our planet.

Among the most popular tables were the Pomona Organic Farm, the Makerspace, and a lemonade stand run by the Scripps groundskeeping team. The Pomona Organic farm used their baked vegan carrot loaf and muffins with the carrots from our farm,” said Katja Reich ‘23 from the Pomona Farm. Their table also sold bouquets of flowers grown at the farm, which sold quickly: “We only have one bouquet left!” said Reich.

“This week at the Makerspace we’ve done different sustainability themed workshops like, for example, using fabric scraps to make a macrame plant holder,” said Sar. “We do our best to be involved in sustainability.”

Overall, the fair was an inspiring demonstration of environmental consciousness and sustainability, highlighting cross-campus collaboration and a strong commitment to community engagement. Some, however, were frustrated by the administration’s outward portrayal of Scripps as a sustainable institution considering the deficient funding they allot to sustainability groups on campus.

“This is a very performative fair,” Serena David ’24 said on behalf of the Scripps Free Closet. “Being on the Scripps Sustainability Committee, it has been really hard trying to communicate with anybody on admin, especially regarding funding. We’ve asked the Sustainability Coordinator and different people on admin for very minimal funding from the five-thousand dollar grant they have for student sustainability initiatives and they refuse to give us any sort of payment.”

Adding to David’s feelings, Cecelia Blum ’24 said, “This sustainability fair really highlights that the sustainable efforts happening on this campus are students. It’s not admin saying ‘We want to make campus a more sustainable place,’ it is students who want to make campus more sustainable. They really put a ton of work and effort and blood, sweat, and tears into doing that.”

“Don’t get it twisted. This is definitely something that students do and not something that admin does,” said Blum, who was met with snaps of agreement from the Scripps Sustainability Committee, tabled a few feet away.

The 11th Annual Sustainability Fair was an impressive display of community engagement and interest in environmentalism. The fight for a sustainable future at Scripps is being headed by persistent and hard-working students, who possess the passion for the movement but lack necessary funding and feel under supported by Scripps administration.

Image Source: Scripps College

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