URI Sustainability Week to feature events, activities to celebrate 100th anniversary of Cooperative Extension

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KINGSTON, R.I. – October 7, 2014 – The University of Rhode Island will celebrate the 100th anniversary of the legislation establishing Cooperative Extension with three days and nights of activities and events designed to draw attention to the many ways that URI Cooperative Extension helps to improve the lives of Rhode Islanders and their communities.

“URI Sustainability Week is a great example of the collaboration between our Cooperative Extension staff and the URI Sustainability Office. We’re showcasing how we achieve common goals through the programs we offer to the university community. It’s all about sharing information on how to live sustainable lives, learning about the impact we have on the world around us, and having fun,” said Kristina DiSanto, the URI Outreach Center staff member who organized the celebration. “There is absolutely something for everyone.”

Among the featured events during Sustainability Week will be:

– The Human Battery, a one-mile run around campus to determine the electrical output of human physical activity. Prizes will be awarded to the participant with the highest individual output. Oct. 14 at 10:30 a.m. on the Quad.

– Screening of the film “Plastic Paradise,” an award-winning documentary that tracks the quantities of plastics and other trash thrown away and where it ends up. Oct. 14 at 6:30 p.m. in Swan Hall auditorium.

– A display of art made from recycled materials and a discussion with URI’s Distinguished Visiting Artist Martin Keil. Oct. 15 from noon to 2 p.m. in the Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences.

– 4-H Science Night, an event where children ages 9 and up can learn the science of ice cream. Oct. 14 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences.

– An electric vehicle ride and drive, an opportunity to ride shotgun in an electric vehicle and learn about sustainable transportation. Oct. 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the URI Outreach Center.

– Celebrating Cooperative Extension, a festival of sustainability education and fun, including pumpkin carving, solar sprint car races, light bulb exchange and more. Oct. 16 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Quad.

– In honor of World Food Day, URI students are hosting a food drive to benefit the Rhode Island Community Food Bank. Visitors to campus are encouraged to bring a canned good or non-perishable item. Donation bins will be available in the Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences and on the Quad from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Oct. 16.

Among the other events on the agenda is a carpool networking event, a campus tree identification tour, a lesson in modern mapping, a discussion of the history of apple growing in Rhode Island, a food preservation demonstration, and an open house at the botanical gardens.

Click here for a complete schedule of activities.

Congress passed the Smith-Lever Act in 1914 to establish Cooperative Extension offices at all land grant universities in the country to help Americans improve their circumstances by applying university research to their daily lives.

“Cooperative Extension is the formal outreach arm of the University, and it’s designed to deliver science-based information to people in such a way that they can actually apply this knowledge to improve their lives,” said Deborah Sheely, director of Cooperative Extension. “Historically it focused on agriculture, home economics and rural energy, but it has grown to include a focus on youth development, natural resources and other topics as well.”

Cooperative Extension at the University of Rhode Island continues to provide guidance to the agriculture industry in the state by, for instance, helping small farmers improve their practices, advising fruit growers on pest and disease management, and supporting the research needs of the turf industry. But at URI it also includes statewide nutrition education programs for low-income and elderly households, youth leadership development through the 4-H program, and water quality monitoring through Watershed Watch, among many others.