By Madeline Groschen
Despite a mid-April snowstorm, this year’s Earth Friendly Fair still drew a crowd of 150 people for activities including a Thrift Shop Fashion Show and an outdoors Earth Friendly Dash.
“Last year we had a snowstorm that dropped 16 inches of snow the day before the EFF,” Environmental Club adviser Peter Wahlstrom said. “I was sure that couldn’t happen again, but this year we had a snowstorm that dropped nearly 20 inches of snow, although, to my great relief, it happened three days before EFF.”
But Wahlstrom said the lack of cooperation from the college food service vendor, Lancer, was disappointing.
Wahlstrom approached Lancer officials twice to ask for their cooperation, and was finally rejected help the third time he asked.
“Folks were clamoring for coffee and snacks so we did the best we could by firing up the popcorn machine and serving coffee to as many people as I could which I made in the faculty lounge. The bottom line is that we are disappointed in Lancer’s poor performance and will not count on this company in the future.”
Wahlstrom said next year organizers would move the event to the G201-202 wing and organizers would provide their own food and beverages. “We’ve learned our lesson from Lancer.”
Marilyn Smith, Interim Chief Financial Officer said the college’s contract with Lancer gives it exclusive rights to provide food service on campus, and “first right of refusal to a catered event.”
She said if Lancer turns down the opportunity to cater an event, the college can then hire a local restaurant or catering company to bring their own food on campus.
“Unfortunately they would have to prepare the food off campus,” she said.
She said Lancer was unable to provide food for the April 19 event was because there was no guarantee the food would sell, thus wasting food if there was any left over.
When asked if committees or clubs would then have to provide their own food Smith said, “That is an excellent opportunity for a club to fundraise.”
Smith said if approached ahead of time next year, she would be willing to sit down with the event planners and food service manager to look at their options.
Despite the lack of food, Wahlstrom was enthusiastic about this year’s events, especially the Thrift Shop Fashion Show.
“Folks in the audience really liked the show and the emcee, Andrea Sandeen, who was last year’s e-club president, was terrific.”
Rebekah Fager won first prize for her thrift shop wedding gown.
The theme of this year’s Earth Friendly Fair was to raise awareness of bees.
Wahlstrom said, “We also decided this year to try something new by focusing on a particular environmental issue – in this case the plight of bees – and make that the theme of the event. I believe this worked out well because folks in attendance were genuinely appreciative of the education they received about bees, especially from the main presenter, Walter Schwarz, who came up from Iowa to share his enthusiasm for bees in a fascinating presentation.”
Wahlstrom said e-club members began planning the event in December, but it wouldn’t have taken place without help from faculty, students and the support of campus administration.
“There is a great deal of sustained effort from a handful of hardcore, dedicated students, to pull this off and make it an event that the college can be proud of and the whole community can take pleasure in,” he said.