UNC Asheville Invites All to Join 2023 Fall Greenfest: A Week-Long Celebration of Community-Centric Sustainability

September 15, 2023

UNC Asheville will celebrate its bi-annual Greenfest this fall from September 24-30.

Greenfest is a series of events held on the campus of UNC Asheville that celebrates sustainability, students, and community. Many events are free and open to the public. 

Gracie Dotson, UNC Asheville senior and sustainability coordinator for the Office of Sustainability, said this semester’s theme is “Community Grows Here.” 

“Sustainability is about community and it’s about all working together. I think it can often feel very individualized in some of the ways that people are taught about sustainability on social media and in classes, like bring your reusable bag, or individually compost and things like that,” Dotson said. “But with Greenfest, it’s always about bringing together so many different community members. It’s for students, staff, faculty, alumni, just people who live in Asheville. Anyone can come and participate in Greenfest.”

They added, “The promotion of community work to have a more sustainable network is what Greenfest is really good at. It’s not just about doing sustainability-related activities, but understanding that we’re all working together for the same collective goal.”

Among the many daily events, the festival will include a Sustainability Fair on the Quad, a panel on electric vehicles, classes on natural dyeing using plant materials, and Dotson’s personal favorite: releasing Monarch butterflies at the steps of Ramsey Library.

“We did that two years ago, which was at my first Greenfest, and it was really awesome. There’s so many and they’re so pretty. And then, they go out and they actually do really, really wonderful things,” they said. “I think it’s really fun to go to that kind of event and then later on see a Monarch butterfly just on campus and think ‘Oh is that one of the ones that we let go?’” 

The Ramsey Seed library will also be giving out free seeds and plants at the event. 

The event helps support the University’s ongoing mission of environmental stewardship; UNC Asheville was recently ranked sixth in the nation by The Princeton Review for “Green Matters: Everyone Cares About Conservation” as well as given a perfect score in their Green Rating. 

UNC Asheville was commended for its dedication to “cause-driven activities like food distribution events and zero waste contests.” The Office of Sustainability participated in the Race to Zero Waste this past spring semester and is a key factor in other sustainable features of campus such as the Bee Hotel, campus gardens and earning LEED certification for efficient, green buildings.

Dotson said the Office of Sustainability is excited to have a new physical office space in Karpen Hall 006 and they encourage anyone interested in learning more about sustainability on campus to stop by with questions or take a sustainability tour.


Monday, September 25

Careers in Climate Change Panel 

Highsmith Student Union Grotto at 12 p.m. 

The Career Center presents a panel on climate change careers, bringing different professionals to speak on their experiences and answer questions.


Invasive Plant Removal — Work Day 

Zeis patio at 2 p.m.

Join Environmental Studies and Campus Operations to remove invasives along Reed Creek Greenway.


Tuesday, September 26

Sustainability Fair 

University Quad from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Come kick off Greenfest! Join us for activities, tabling, and more. 


Free Food Distribution

University Quad from 12 a.m. to 2 p.m.

FEI is a student-run organization devoted to providing free food, hygiene products, and non-perishable goods to the UNC Asheville community.


Local Lunch 

Brown Dining Hall from 12 to 2 p.m.

Come enjoy lunch at Brown, highlighting our local produce providers Mountain Foods and Hickory Nut Gap. *Must purchase with a regular meal swipe or payment.


Wednesday, September 27

On-Campus Workday 

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. meet at Reed Plaza

Join the semi-annual work day to beautify campus with Campus Operations! 


Electrify Your Ride 

11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Reuter Center

An EV show and panel discussion to deep-dive into the world of EVs. Both events are free and open to the public. 

*Registration is required for the panel discussion, which will take place 11:30 am – 1:30 pm in room 102 of the Reuter Center. Please complete the following form to sign up: https://forms.gle/3w9CtJfA5pKZMXZuZ

Attendance is available in person and virtual.


Natural Dying — Part One 

12 p.m. in Rhoades Robinson Hall 131

Come learn how to naturally dye fabric with locally collected materials. Part one: learn about plants and prepare your dye.


Thursday, September 28


10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in Reed Plaza

Join ACE and Outdoor Programs to learn how to Eco-Print using found natural materials to print images on canvas.


Film Screening — “The River Runs On” 

7 p.m. in Highsmith Student Union Grotto 

The River Runs On follows conservationists throughout southern Appalachia as they struggle to manage two of the most important national forests in America – the Pisgah and the Nantahala.


Friday, September 29

Everything Monarch 

Time TBD at the Ramsey Library Steps

Join us to release monarchs on campus! Stay for a plant giveaway and cool monarch merch. *Official date to be determined due to monarchs being ready. Check back for updates and announcement of the date and time.


National Coffee Day 

9 to 11 a.m. at Reed Plaza

Celebrate with free Dynamite Coffee, our local coffee purveyor who supplies fair trade coffee to campus.


Natural Dying — Part Two 

11 p.m. in Rhoades Robinson Hall 131

Learn how to naturally dye fabric with locally collected materials. Part Two: Dye a silk scarf! 


Feed me Foam — Styrofoam Recycling 

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Campus Parking Lot P34

Bring your clean packing styrofoam for densifying and recycling! White styrofoam only.


Sunday, October 1

Volunteer Workday at Root Cause Farm 

3 to 6 p.m. at 26 Joe Jenkins Rd, Fairview, NC 28730

Join Sunrise UNCA for a volunteer workday at Root Cause Farm where we will help out around the gardens! Root Cause Farm is a nonprofit food-justice-oriented farm that donates everything it grows.