EcoFest at Kingsborough Community College

Eco-Fest is an annual environmental awareness and action event at Kingsborough Community College. This year's festival included student research projects on the how their life is impacted by global and environmental issues.  Those projects included the following themes:

  • the social and environmental impact of gun violence,
  • how food stamps can be used to support local farmer's markets,
  • how we can apply creativity and social capital to organize and make social change through interactive technology,
  • how critical studies could range from environmental to feminist critiques and analysis of law and society,  

Global and Environmental Studies (GES) students conducted field research at the Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, shared their knowledge of compost through action campaigns, and saw their collaborative eco-designs come to life in this science fair like exhibition. Several students discovered previously latent leadership skills and overcame barriers of citizenship and adversity. All of the students learned to work collaboratively, across differences, and created a positive student presence on campus that integrated and sometimes transcended projects or individual goals.  These student researchers embodied a sense of urgency and civic responsibility to solve these pressing global challenges.    

In addition to the student research projects there was a photography exhibition titled, "Sensing the Environment" from three New York City based photographers Jay Wen, Jeremy Goldberg and Nick Onken.  Each of these individuals contribute to positive social change throughout the world in addition to their inspiring photography.  Eco-Urban's very own Jay Wen contributed to the college event by donating prints, designing a butterfly garden product demo, and conducting do-it-yourself workshops.   

This exhibit was inspired by considering different ways we as humans sense our environment. From Tokyo to Central Park these photographers have brought a unique point of view around our shared relationship with, to, and among scenes of nature and landscape. Framed within the petrol-based "plastics" dominated world, we invite you to reconsider what it means to be human within natural and artificial settings.  Instead of traditional frames we decided to alter the perception of environments by re-purposing the following typical household objects: saran wrap, clothing pins, rope, and two 6 foot 2x4s.  Through the layers of plastics the photographs reveal different point of views of what the environment meant to the photographer.  These prints were set in front of the windows facing the beautiful waters and scenic nature-scapes in the background of the viewers' gaze.  

Eco-Urban's Eco-System Curriculum for After-School Garden Design and our collaborative efforts with Hofstra University to build an integrated urban farm on an abandoned lot.  There were two Do-It-Yourself projects, "how to make seed bombs" and "how to make woven magazine coasters".  A compost game was also designed to challenge the player's knowledge of how to distribute the items into the correct bins. 

There were people participating at every station and every presentation. We hope they were able to learn and take away something with them that helps them experience the environment in a different way.