Environment capsule to be removed


Everyday hundreds of Susquehanna students, faculty and staff pour through the Northeast doors of Degenstein Campus Center on their way to meetings, activities and meals. It is one of the busiest places on campus.

Less than 100 feet away, unnoticed by most of the people hurrying through the area, lies a small plaque, which reads “‘Old World’ Laid to rest on Earth Day, April 22, 1990.”

Until recently the meaning of the plaque had been lost, but this past summer a Susquehanna faculty member looked into the history of the plaque and made an interesting discovery.

According to the April 27, 1990 edition of the Crusader, the plaque marks the spot of an environmentally-focused time capsule. On April 22, 1990, “The ‘Old Earth Time Capsule,’ containing environmentally hazardous substances such as aerosol cans, aluminum cans, styrofoam and disposable diapers was buried,” according to the article.

The ceremony was part of a weeklong celebration across campus to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Earth Day, according to the paper.

25 years later, the capsule, which was originally slated to be removed in 2010, will be dug up in a ceremony attended by Susquehanna faculty, staff, students and alumni.

The ceremony will begin at 4 p.m. on Sept. 19, according to Rebecca Deitrick, the assistant vice president of alumni, parent and donor engagement. The Susquehanna class of 1990 president, Gene Cautillo, will speak about the burial of the capsule 25 years ago.

Following his speech, the capsule will be dug up and revealed. After that three students, representing different environmental groups on campus will have the chance to speak about current challenges facing the environment today, much like the students spoke at the original burial ceremony in 1990.

Seniors Derrek Reitz and Michelle Barakat and junior Austin Grubb will all speak on behalf of various student groups.

Grubb, who is the president of Students for the Awareness for the Value of the Environment, plans to speak on several contemporary issues involving the environment.

“What I’m going to do is kind of list some of the biggest environmental problems, like climate change, water is going to be a huge one for this century and biodiversity loss,” he said.

When asked what he would include in a similar time capsule today, Grubb said, “Maybe a chunk of coal, or something to represent all of the fossil fuels; climate change is by far the biggest environmental problem of all time, because it affects everything.”

The ceremony will also give students and staff a chance to look forward and recognize what changes still need to happen on campus, something Grubb views as very important for the university.

“What I would like to see happen on [Susquehanna’s] campus is for sustainability to be institutionalized,” Grubb said. “That way it’s not only something we talk about.