April 13, 2000
Vol. 19 No. 14

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    ECOncert April 21 to celebrate Earth Day

    By Jennifer Leovy
    News Office

    A trash-free rock concert may seem like an oxymoron, but University students have organized just that for Earth Day 2000. “We won’t need trashcans, only recycling containers,” said third-year Niels Bradshaw. “We’ll serve organically grown food and concert concessions produced by environmentally responsible businesses.”

    Spearheaded by Chicago students, undergraduate volunteers formed the Chicago Students Environmental Alliance, a coalition of six colleges including Chicago, DePaul University, Northwestern University, Lake Forest College, University of Illinois at Chicago and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. As student organizers, their mission is to demonstrate alternative concepts of production, consumption and energy use while promoting the potential of student-led action to future students who will protect the environment. They decided ECOncert 2000 was a unique event to engage their peers in environmental causes at the beginning of a new century and on the 30th anniversary of Earth Day.

    “We wanted to demonstrate that sustainable living was a real possibility and that we could present a major event without sacrificing the earth or our ideals,” said Bradshaw.

    The Chicago reggae band Roots Rock Society will open for headliner Tim Reynolds, an American traditional-rock guitarist who has played with the Dave Matthews Band. The concert will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, April 21, in Mandel Hall. A pre-concert festival will begin at 3 p.m. in Hutchinson Courtyard and will include music, food, educational materials and the University’s “Earth ball.”

    Concert tickets are on sale for $10 in the Reynolds Club Box Office and at http://www.csea-earthday.com. For more information, please call (773) 702-0405.

    Sponsors include Spire Corporation, the Chicago Earthmonth Coalition and the University’s Environmental Concerns Organization. With support from Jennifer Bird, Student Organization Center Coordinator, and Bill Michel, Director and Deputy Dean of Student Services, Bradshaw said students spent the last six months soliciting sponsors for everything from tickets to electricity. “You’d be surprised how hard it can be to find someone who prints tickets on recycled paper,” said Bradshaw.

    The Midwest Renewable Energy Association, a non-profit organization that promotes solar energy, will provide power to the equipment onstage through technology that converts sunlight directly into electricity without producing harmful emissions.

    Spire Corporation, a company helping Chicago make the transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy, will be present to demonstrate the benefits of solar power.

    The student coalition hopes their event will have a lasting impact. “The most impressive thing about ECOncert is that we have managed to bring together such a strong coalition of student groups from around the city,” said Bradshaw. “I think the strength of the coalition will be the most important legacy of the event and will continue to produce unique events and ideas that will impact environmentalism in the Chicago area.”