21 Dec Eco-friendly Christmas tree creates buzz
Enderun Colleges kicked off the holiday season with its first Christmas tree lighting ceremony called “At First Light.” The 22-foot structure features an eco-friendly Christmas tree made from bamboo and abundantly adorned with upcycled ornaments, LED lights and Liter of Light.
The college collaborated with different groups to create its eco-friendly and sustainable Christmas tree. The ornaments were handcrafted by two communities — the newspaper ornaments were made by the talented women of Pook Galatia in Parañaque City, supported by Kabisig ng Kalahi Foundation, while the décor made from soda caps were assembled by the Gawad Kalinga community of the sitio of Pajo in barangay of Baesa in Quezon City. Enderun also partnered with Liter of Light, a Philippine-inspired sustainable lighting project that uses old plastic bottles filled with water and chlorine to light up homes and streets in low-income communities.
“At First Light” was attended by students, faculty, board members and guests. Enderun Colleges’ president, Dr. Edgardo Rodriguez, welcomed the attendees and led the ceremonial affair with Bryan Benitez McClelland, director of the college’s new Sustainability and Environmental Studies Department.
The celebration was also an opportunity to highlight the college’s new Sustainability degree and its efforts to become a green campus.
“We wanted to shift from the usual plastic and non-biodegradable materials used in holiday celebrations. Our idea was to use bamboo as the main body of the tree since it is one of the most sustainable building materials on the planet. Surrounding the bamboo are energy-saving LED lights, zero-carbon lighting from Liter of Light, and Philippine-made ornaments that are either biodegradable or upcylced. Sustainability is not just about being eco-friendly, but also being socially responsible. This is why we purchased ornaments from communities we want to empower,” said McClelland, a social entrepreneur best known as the founder of Bambike, a manufacturer of bamboo bicycles. “The materials used in the Christmas tree will not go to waste after the holidays. The bamboo will be repurposed in construction projects on campus, and the newspaper ornaments will be used as compost. Moreover, the other ornaments will be stored and reused in next year’s festivities.”
Also in attendance were Illac Diaz, executive director of Liter of Light. “Twenty million Filipinos are living in darkness. Liter of Light is taking an important step forward to provide these people with locally-produced solar lights. We address problems like food shortage, poverty, lack of clean water and shelter but, we should also provide light to households because it limits learning and makes people more susceptible to danger every night,” said Diaz.
The project has successfully installed 350,000 Liter of Light solar night lights and street lights in homes, shops, schools, medical centers and villages across 15 countries.
The event’s program also featured heartwarming performances by Tuloy Foundation’s choir and ballet group. The choir sang Christmas songs while holding Liter of Light bottles, while the ballet group performed excerpts from the famous ballet, “The Nutcracker.” Enderun Colleges has been a long-time supporter of Tuloy Foundation, a non-government and non-profit organization that provides residential care and comprehensive educational programs to street children in order to reintegrate them to society.