UVM to honor the earth and Michelle Gardner-Qu

BURLINGTONThis year the University of Vermont caps off its week long celebration of Earth Week by fusing live music, educational activities and student activism in the name of Michelle Gardner-Quinn. The Redstone Campus will become the site of a benefit concert and all day festival. UVMs Earthweek events will culminate with a benefit concert featuring Jazz Mandolin Project, for the environmentally focused nonprofit Michelle's Earth Foundation, to commemorate the earth and one of its own, Michelle Gardner-Quinn. Student organizations and the Department of Student Life have come together to create a benefit concert, known on campus as, Earthfest: A Tribute to Michelle. The festival will begin at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 21, on Redstone Campus (rainsite location: Mann Hall Auditorium), and will be free and open to the local community, with donations and profits from food vendors and merchandise going to Michelle's Earth Foundation. "It seems only fitting to hold a concert to celebrate the Earth, in the name of a student who held environmentalism and the human connection to nature, so close to her," said Melissa Sandoval of UVM Campus Programs. A close friend of Michelle, Julia Martin '09, took on the project and helped organize it with assistance from two student organizations, VSTEP - long devoted to helping organize Earthweek, and the UVM Program Board, which plans and produces campus events for UVM and the Burlington community as well as the Department of Student Life. Though an idea thrown around in conversation amongst friends was transformed into an all-day festival, the goal of Earthfest-to present and share the values of environmentalism to the campus and greater Burlington community-has always stayed at the forefront. The festival will include an environmentally geared speak out, all-day music performances and other activities. Groups featured include afrobeat group, The Motet, local favorites Burlington Taiko Drumming, Panda Watch, Avi & Celia and jam sensation, Jamie Masefield, and The Jazz Mandolin Project. This day of activism will end in an open mic at Slade Hall, for those who want to express thoughts and beliefs reflecting Michelle's compassion for all living things. "Earthfest also holds a bigger purpose: to raise money for Michelle's Earth Foundation," Sandoval said. "Friends and family members from Michelle's home in Virginia took memories of her advocacy and created this organization. The organizers wanted to honor Michelle's enthusiasm for the outdoors, a quality that brought her to the Green Mountains." Earthweek at the University of Vermont, consists of a full week of programs shedding light on issues regarding climate change and environmental justice among others, including an educational focused game show about Climate Change, an Earth Day Fair featuring students' class projects and Climate Change Teach-Ins. For additional information, contact Melissa Sandoval or visit www.uvm.edu/bored. If interested in supporting or getting involved with Michelle's Earth Foundation, be sure to visit www.michellesearthfound.org, to obtain more information. About Michelle Gardner-Quinn: Michelle Gardner-Quinn was an undergraduate transfer student at the University of Vermont, beginning her first semester at the school at the time of her tragic death in October 2006. She was described by friends, family and professors as being a positive energy, a dedicated, hardworking student and a person very closely connected to nature.

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