By Megan Raab
On March 9 and 10, the Rider Dance program presented its annual show, “Rider Dances.” This year, however, their show was part of a larger project, the Dance and Sustainably Project, with the goal of informing the public about environmental issues that are affecting the planet through dance.
This project allowed Rider students studying dance, film, media, technical theater and campus Eco-reps to work together alongside the Artichoke Dance Company, based out of New York City. For the past 20 years, Artichoke Dance has worked to advocate for the planet through performing arts.
Many Rider students have taken green initiatives to tackle global climate issues by joining clubs and organizations like Eco-reps, whose mission is to make the campus more sustainable and eco-friendly for the community.
Eco-reps are paid student workers who host many events and activities campus-wide to raise awareness about the climate crisis.
Sophomore musical theater major and Eco-rep Emma Harris said that she became an Eco-rep because she has always been passionate about the planet and wanted to supplement her education.
“As a musical theater major, it was hard for me to feel satisfied as an environmental advocate, [but] being an Eco-rep allows me to live through my passion while helping others to learn about their actions and the impacts they have on the world around us,” Harris said.
The effects of the Eco-rep program on the Rider community are something that Harris said she has been able to witness. One of these effects included new garbage and recycling bins across campus, which are made entirely from recycled materials.
“Rider Dances” was a collaborative effort between members of the dance program and Eco-reps, according to Harris.
“The dancers participated in many ‘Green Team’ events over the course of this year to better grasp the concepts they were presenting and worked very closely with the Office of Sustainability to truly understand the state of the world we live in,” Harris said.
The groups partnered together on several events, including the Campus Woods Cleanup and Campus Sustainability Day, throughout the semester to further enhance their performances as well as raise awareness for environmental issues.
Junior dance major Rose Conroy-Voza was a featured dancer in the performance.
“By coming to see the Dance and Sustainability Project, audience members will become more aware of all things happening around the world [in the advocatation] for a more sustainable planet,” Conroy-Voza said. “The set and costumes are all [composed of] recycled materials. Everything about this show is to tell the audience that it is everyone’s responsibility to stop what we are doing to this planet of ours and start doing better.”
For Rider students interested in getting involved with campus climate initiatives, the Eco-reps are entering week six of their eight-week Recyclemania program on campus. Each week highlights a material which students can recycle — the theme of week six is fabric and textiles. Students who are interested in recycling these items can check out the clothing collection drive on March 14 in the Bart Luedeke Center lobby.
Eco-rep’s Green Film Series continues on March 12 and 13 in SWG 115 with Human Flow, which focuses on refugees that are affected by the climate crisis.
The Eco-reps will be hosting several events across campus for Earth month, which begins after students return from spring break.
Published in the 3/13/19 edition.