Rain surprises HCC Earth Day celebrants

April 22, 2009|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN -- Hagerstown Community College had a number of performers lined up to share environmental songs and poetry Wednesday at its Earth Day celebration, but organizers hadn't anticipated that nature itself would end up stealing the show.

The event was just getting started on the patio outside the college's Career Programs Building when rain drove the proceedings inside. Then, when the rain had stopped and the group had gone back out to witness a new fountain being turned on, a strong gust of wind blew the fountain's spray into the crowd, sending a group of assembled preschoolers running for cover.

College officials took the weather's surprises in stride, in keeping with the event's spirit of appreciation for nature.

The fountain, installed during the recent renovation of the Career Programs Building, is meant to be a symbol of the college's commitment to the beauty and health of the campus environment, HCC President Guy Altieri said.


"HCC is very pleased to dedicate our new fountain as an ongoing reminder that we all need to be enthusiastic stewards of our environment, protecting the purity of our water, land and air," Altieri said before turning the fountain on.

The event also featured a performance by adjunct instructor Jennie Avila, who wrote a song about the new fountain, comparing the path of the cycling water to the many cycles of nature.

Three-year-olds from the college's Children's Learning Center performed "I Can Sing a Rainbow" and wiggled their fingers overhead to invoke leaves while Avila sang a song about trees.

Gwendolyn Gist, 23, a business administration and English education student at HCC, read an original poem called "Plight of Gaia," which called on the audience to right environmental wrongs, "Lest we mourn one day the ruin/Of this third jewel from the sun."

HCC students, faculty and staff are contributing to the cause by volunteering for planting and gardening work on campus and contributing to projects such as stream monitoring studies, science club adviser Mylynh Nguyen said. Graphic design students have made environmental awareness posters that will be on display in the science building through the end of the semester, Nguyen said.

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