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Budget concerns prompt Earth Jam cancellation

Last year’s Earth Jam (above) featured hands-on activities, educational displays and giveaways. The event was canceled by the Nicholas School of the Environment this year for budgetary reasons.
Last year’s Earth Jam (above) featured hands-on activities, educational displays and giveaways. The event was canceled by the Nicholas School of the Environment this year for budgetary reasons.

Students hoping to split geodes and glimpse marine animals at this year’s Earth Jam may will to wait at least another year.

The free, interactive environmental festival that takes place annually in conjunction with the Majors Fair will not be held Tuesday due to recent economic strain, officials from the Nicholas School of the Environment announced.

“Earth Jam has been a great success helping us raise awareness of our programs and reach thousands of students, staff and faculty members with key environmental messages,” said Bill Chameides, dean of the Nicholas School. “In future years, we will definitely revisit the possibility of sponsoring it once again. This year, however, the most responsible decision was to cancel it.”

Earth Jam introduces undergraduates to academic programs at the Nicholas School and informs them about environmental opportunities and issues in the Durham community.

The event, which typically features hands-on activities, educational displays and giveaways, has been held at the Bryan Center alongside the Majors Fair for the past two years.

Tim Lucas, marketing manager for the Nicholas School, said undergraduates will still be able to stop by the Nicholas School table at the Majors Fair to learn about academic programs at the school. The school offers semester-long study abroad opportunities at the Marine Lab in Beaufort, N.C. as well as majors and minors offered in the school’s divisions of Environmental Sciences and Policy and Earth and Ocean Sciences.

Lucas said he hoped to prevent any surprise come Tuesday by making students aware of the cancellation.

“We’ll still have a table and we’ll still have [free] shirts,” he said. “We just didn’t want students this year expecting to go down to Earth Jam.”

Sophomores Mikael Owunna and Ben Soltoff, co-presidents of Duke Environmental Alliance, said that although Earth Jam will be missed, they hope its absence is only temporary.

“Earth Jam was exciting, and made students more enthusiastic about sustainability and other critical issues,” Owunna wrote in an e-mail. “For these reasons, it is regrettable that it was canceled, but I’m optimistic that it will return next year and remain as one of the hallmark environmental events of the Duke academic year.”

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