A shining sun, free food, live music, and numerous games and attractions greeted the attendees at this year’s GreenFest on Friday. Ramapo students turned out for the event on the Bandshell lawn, which was coordinated by multiple organizations including NORML, 1Step, Yoga Club and the Student Government Association.
The theme of the day was green, in accordance with NORML’s initiatives for the legalization of marijuana and 1Step’s dedication to a sustainable environment.
“We were trying to draw the campus outdoors for this fun event to really understand the reason that both clubs exist,” said sophomore Eric Thompson, president of 1Step.
Everything at the event featured some connection in raising awareness of the marijuana drug war, sustainability issues or just pure fun.
“Every club had this idea of change in mind,” said Rachael O’Brien, vice president of NORML. “It’s a great way to get a lot of people involved and realize that one person can change something.”
From organic pizza from Pizza Fusion to free tie-dye t-shirts to a bouncy castle, GreenFest enticed many students to come out and learn about the causes.
The event kicked off at 10 a.m. with a hike through the Ramapo Reservation to enjoy the warm weather and pick up garbage. Certified yoga instructor and event coordinator Loretta Turner then led a free yoga session at 11 a.m. at the Bandshell. The bulk of the event, which featured the food, music and games, started at noon and ran until about 7 p.m.
“I heard about [GreenFest] through all the posters around school,” said senior Rachel Seidman, who went to the event when her class was dismissed early. “We got our faces painted and listened to the live music while checking out the organic food made with hemp… I’m glad the school supported it and gave the students a reason to be outside.”
Though there was no way to track exact attendance at GreenFest, NORML president Louis Di Paolo estimated that there were approximately 100 students at the event at any given time throughout the day.
Di Paolo said he is happy with the success of GreenFest, especially considering the growth from its debut last year. Though Di Paolo said the 2011 event had potential, rainy weather moved it inside to J. Lee’s with a fraction of the planned attractions. However, fortunate weather and thorough preparation fared in favor of this year’s GreenFest initiative.
“This, without a doubt, will be an annual event, and it’s only going to get bigger,” O’Brien said. “We want to get so much more of campus involved.”
The organizers of this primarily student-run event said they were also appreciative of the campus-wide support they received, from donated utensils from the Pavilion kitchen for catered Moe’s to donated pizza from Student Activities Revenue Management (SARM).
Altogether, Di Paolo said the multilateral cooperation and effective advertisement helped in the smooth operation of the event, of which he said he has “no complaints.”
“We had support from everyone,” Di Paolo said. “It just shows how vast the support is for this movement.”