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Fall Green Fest focuses on environmentally friendly lifestyles
North Georgia College & State University held event Thursday evening
Lauren Jenkins holds a Red Tail Boa snake Thursday evening at the Fall Green Fest at North Georgia College & State Univerisity. - photo by Tom Reed

They say "the grass is always greener... ."

Students and community organizations in Dahlonega are trying to make sure the old adage holds true for future generations through "eco-laboration."

"We really are not taking care of the planet in the way that we probably should be. I think people are becoming aware of how our actions impact other species, how they impact other generations of humans. But we still have a long way to go," said Nancy Dalman, chairwoman of North Georgia College & State University Sustainability Task Force.

Students, faculty and community members gathered Thursday night on the drill field at North Georgia College & State University to celebrate the first Fall Green Fest.

The family-friendly festival was intended to encourage people to pursue a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.

"It's just to kind of show people you don't have to walk everywhere and make your clothes out of hemp. Small things can make a difference," Dalman said.

North Georgia, like many other colleges across the U.S., is taking action to protect the environment.

Last semester the school started Green Fest and the Sustainability Task Force in an effort to encourage students and faculty to be more environmentally aware.

The task force tries to find solutions to make being "green" easier.

One new solution they rolled out during Green Fest was a new pilot program called Bike Share. The school provided seven new bikes to be used free of charge. Students simply grab one of the zebra-stripped bikes and ride to their destination. They leave the bike outside so another student can use it.

Students from North Georgia and area organizations set up booths to demonstrate how easy being green can be.

Dustin James, 22, a biology major, has a fun and environmentally conscious way of creating new dishware.

He turns old glass bottles into drinking cups by simply cutting the tops off and sanding the broken edges.

"I make these way faster than I can get to Walmart and I save gas money too," James said.

At James' booth the message was about "repurposing."

"Repurposing is about turning old things into new. Taking things that you would normally throw away and giving them purpose again. That way you're saving the environment and you're saving money," said 22-year-old biology major Erika Delacruz.

Brian West is a student who helped make Green Fest possible. He said he hopes to see the "eco-laboration" between the campus and the community continue in years to come. He said 10 years ago Green Fest would not have been the success it is.

"It just seems like it's the right time to introduce these measures of sustainability and starting to think about our part in the world as a whole and our future. It just seems like it's the right climate right now," West said.