In 1970, Senator Gaylord Nelson proposed Earth Day as a nation-wide teach-in event scheduled for April 22nd. The goal was to raise awareness about environmental issues. It was coordinated by Denis Hayes, a proponent of solar power and leader in environmental energy policy.
According to the Oregon Daily Emerald, the first Earth Day included over 1000 participating colleges and 3000 participating high schools in the United States.
Since then, Earth Day expanded into Earth Week. It has gained interest internationally, with more than 180 nations celebrating, making it the largest secular holiday in the world.
Although Earth Day’s scope is inherently massive–it is, after all, a celebration of the entire planet–each Earth Week celebration is characterized by unique activities that are reflective of shifting concerns of communities. It is a local movement as much as it is global one.
Students at the University of Oregon have continued to organize their own Earth Week through the decades, each event becoming a valuable contribution to this important movement’s history and continued existence. This project is in recognition to that dedication.
The following pictures and information about U of O’s Earth Week have been collected from the archives of the University’s Oregon Daily Emerald and Eugene’s Register Guard, which were taken from the Knight Library’s collection of newspaper microfilms. Where some information or visuals were lacking, the internet supplemented.