March 15, 2010

With Drake, Slope Day Takes Environmentally-Friendly Twist

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On May 7, Cornell students will celebrate yet another Slope Day, lounging on the grass and enjoying live music provided by chart-topping artists. This year, however, the concert will look a little different.

Cornell has chosen musicians who have committed to partake in the Campus Consciousness Tour –– a project that was introduced in 2004 by Reverb, a not-for-profit organization –– that aims to promote environmental sustainability at campus concerts around the country. As part of their participation, the University will be responsible for reducing waste and reminding their students to stay environmentally aware.

Attendees will see green tents imprinted with the words “Eco Village” and students will be served organic and locally grown food with biodegradable utensils. Eco-Fina water bottles, which use 50 percent less plastic, will be distributed and recycling bins will be placed around the slope.

In addition, national and campus-based environmental organizations will set up booths around the Slope that will distribute information about the movement and encourage students to become involved.

Performers will also make some changes to their normal routines. They will travel to the University in tour buses fueled with biodiesel gasoline and rechargeable batteries will be used to power their microphones while on stage.

In a video posted on the organization’s website, Lauren Sullivan, co-founder of Reverb along with her husband Adam Gardner, the lead singer for Guster, said that the project aims to “use the artist voice to create change and … reverberate out a good message of environmental stewardship and sustainability.”

The Slope Day Programming Board did not initially seek out involvement with the CCT. Upon contacting Drake, a performer for whom Cornell students showed interest, Veronica Fischmann ’10, Director of Slope Day Artist Selections, and the SDPB General Body were made aware of his participation in the CCT –– an idea which they really liked.

Along with Drake, New York City-native band Francis and the Lights and Canadian rapper k-os were already booked as the CCT’s opening performers, which made the selection of the rest of the line-up easy for Slope Day coordinators.

Fischmann said that the SDPB seeks a “diversified line-up” when they choose Slope Day artists and because Francis and the Lights, and the k-os were an affordable “packaged deal” with Drake that fit with the “rigid date” for the concert, the SDPB agreed to them all.

“The fact that we could incorporate [a sustainability message] into Slope Day is really exciting,” said Fischmann.

Initiatives like the CCT are only one aspect of the environmental movement’s latest efforts to make concerts more environmentally-friendly. Both national organizations, like Reverb, and local groups have been working to reduce the negative effects brought by performers and their audiences.

“By nature, the touring industry is a pretty intense one on the environment,” Sullivan wrote on Reverb’s website.

Other college campuses have joined in the effort too.

Upenn hosts Spring Fling, an annual spring concert festival comparable to Slope Day. In past years, the Spring Fling planning board has taken measures to spread environmental awareness through the “EcoFest” campaign, which distributed information about the sustainability movement to their students, according to Spring Fling co-director, Lilun Li.

“We made a conscious effort to put recycling bins around the Quad to encourage students to recycle,” she said. She added that they also placed water machines across concert grounds, as opposed to setting up booths to distribute plastic bottles.

Drake and his co-performers will visit 16 college campuses, spanning from April 9 to May 8. Along with Drake’s tour, Ben Harper and Relentless7 will be on a separate CCT, which will travel to seven schools between April 15 and April 24.

Original Author: Isabel Eckstein