April 2011

April 2011

PAWs - Promoting Awareness and Wellness

Ashford University is proud to show you our PAWs. That is, our Promoting Awareness and Wellness initiative! Every month, we'll highlight different causes and opportunities that reflect the values of the University. You'll also learn ways that you can participate or be more involved.

April 2011 – Earth Day Celebration

Throughout the month of April, Ashford University is promoting increased awareness of and appreciation for the earth's natural environment. April 22 is recognized throughout the world as Earth Day. For many, this celebration expands to an entire month of festivities, outreach, activism, volunteer opportunities, and educational events focusing on the care and preservation of the earth.

The Story Behind Earth Day

The first Earth Day took place in 1970. The movement began when there was little focus on the environment, and there seemed to be little chance of getting the issue on the national political agenda. Nevertheless, then US Senator Gaylord Nelson felt it was worth a shot. Inspired by the power of the anti-war movement, he announced the idea of a "national teach-in on the environment." With the support of Congressman Pete McCloskey and the coordination efforts of Denis Hayes, the idea gained momentum. On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans from across the nation came together to celebrate the first Earth Day by demonstrating their support for environmental protection and building a sustainable future. People came from all walks of life, representing various organizations and different regions of the country, to rally around newly discovered common ground. The first Earth Day succeeded in placing environmental issues on the political agenda, and led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, as well as important legislation such as the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

Over the last forty years, Earth Day has gained more momentum and more supporters. By 1990, it had entered the global stage, resulting in celebrations and events in over 140 countries around the world. In 2009, the United Nations officially proclaimed April 22 to be International Mother Earth Day – promoting worldwide participation in the management and sustainability of our planet. Today, the environmental movement continues to challenge people around the world to take action.

Take Action

Be a part of the solution. There are many ways that you can get involved in Earth Day and help combat the scores of environmental issues we are facing. You can pledge an act of green by joining the Earth Day Network's "Billion Acts of Green" campaign. Or, if you prefer to get involved locally, click here to find events and volunteer opportunities in your area.

Your contribution can also be as simple as making small changes in your everyday life. Here are ten easy efforts that will allow you to be an agent for change:

  1. Go for a walk and pick up trash
  2. Bring reusable bags to the grocery store
  3. Turn off the water when you brush your teeth
  4. Take public transportation
  5. Buy locally-grown produce
  6. Install energy efficient light bulbs in your home
  7. Bring your lunch in reusable containers
  8. Teach your children about Earth Day
  9. Go for a hike
  10. Raise awareness in your community

Whatever you do, big or small, know that you are making a difference! Change begins with you.

For more ideas on how you can be part of the solution, visit the following websites:

Ashford Student Success Story: Margaret Green

Ashford University focuses on high quality learning opportunities that meet the diverse needs of individuals. Since Earth Day unites people all over the world who claim a shared responsibility to take care of our planet, it provides an opportunity for members of the Ashford community to apply their learning to larger goals, and to make our world a better place. Ashford University student Margaret Green is an excellent example of one of those people working to make the world better.

Margaret is a proponent of alternative energy, alternative building methods, and energy conservation and efficiency. Her dream to help build a more sustainable future led her to leave the affluent neighborhoods of Chicago and raise her daughter in a more rustic and sustainable environment. "We lived off the grid in a cabin for several years. We had a wood stove for heat and fresh spring water to drink. I eventually left the cabin because it was too isolated, and now I feel a need to take that original dream of a better sustainable lifestyle and apply it in a more modern format. I have spent a lot of time looking at alternative communities, and I realized that what I was looking for doesn't exist yet. A friend suggested that perhaps it will not exist until I create it."

Completing her Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration online from Ashford University is the first step to securing the credentials she needs to be a reputable contributor in this field. Margaret is living up to her own advice: "If you have a dream, don't wait to pursue it."

More About Earth Day

Additional resources about Earth Day can be found at the Earth Day Network, www.earthday.org. You can also check out the United States Environmental Protection Agency's video project.


A Billion Acts of Green. (2011). Retrieved March 1, 2011 from Earth Day Network website, http://act.earthday.org

Earth Day: The History of a Movement. (2011). Retrieved March 1, 2011 from Earth Day Network website, http://www.earthday.org/earth-day-history-movement

Welcome to Earth Day 2011 Online. (2011). Retrieved March 1, 2011 from EnviroLink: The Online Environmental Community website, http://earthday.envirolink.org/

International Mother Earth Day: 22 April. (2010). Retrieved March 1, 2011 from United Nations website, http://www.un.org/en/events/motherearthday/index.shtml

Pick Five for the Environment. (2011). Retrieved March 1, 2011 from United States Environmental Protection Agency, http://www.epa.gov/pick5/

Attend an Event or Volunteer. (2010). Retrieved March 1, 2011 from United States Environmental Protection Agency website,