Students pledge to recycle as part of America Recycles Day

Aimee Lastrella

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Bryce Dragen, senior environmental and occupational health major, encourages students to sign CSUN’S recycle program pledge outside the Matador Bookstore. Photo Credit: Armando Ruiz / Staff Photographer

Students were encouraged to take a life-long pledge to recycle Monday as part of America Recycles Day.

CSUN students pledged to find where materials can be recycled in their communities and to be an example to their communities by recycling batteries, cell phones, electronic waste and recycling in general.

The pledge also included contacting elected officials to support local recycling programs and spreading the word to at least five friends that recycling is the easiest thing they can do for their community and the environment.

“It’s like a small contract to be more aware about recycling,” said Pamela Guaicochea, 26, lead student assistant for the A.S. Campus Recycling Program. “We want students to be more aware and take the time to look into being more recycle friendly.”

Keep America Beautiful, an organization dedicated to the beautification, preservation and litter prevention of the world — more specifically America — first started the national event Nov. 15, 1997.

Planet Green and the Institute for Sustainability helped with tables set up on the Matador Bookstore Lawn.

Students were encouraged to come to the tables to get more information as well as free pencils and highlighters produced from recycled materials.

“It was slow at the beginning of the day,” Guaicochea said. “But we expect crowds of students around 12 p.m. to come check out the tables. We really think it’s a big issue. Our society is very consumer based and we don’t really understand the life of trash. People often don’t see where it goes and ignore the facts.”

The tabling also offered free T-shirts to students for answering a recycling question. Some of the questions were focused on the recycling programs on campus. Others were general questions on plastic waste and recycling.

Sarah Johnson, administrative analyst for the Institute for Sustainability, was also tabling.

“We just really want to inform students about sustainability,” Johnson said. “We really want to encourage students to get involved and understand their impact.”

Hedy Carpenter, associate director of graduate programs, agreed with Johnson.

“Students really don’t understand their impact on the world when it comes to their waste,” Carpenter said. “Not many students even know what sustainability is, while it is becoming an integral part of the future as jobs are becoming more green.”

The Institute for Sustainability was tabling to encourage awareness, but also to introduce the new minor in sustainability that CSUN will offer in Fall 2011, after being proposed in past semesters.

“I feel that sustainability should be part of the curriculum,” Carpenter added. “The world out there is competitive and having a few courses in sustainability will help the students. We (CSUN) are ahead of a lot of college campuses when it comes to the urge for sustainable means, but we are also behind a handful of college campuses when it comes to the understanding of sustainability for a campus as a whole.”

Carpenter said students not only lack the understanding about sustainability, but also that recycling is a huge problem.

“I think students should visit a landfill,” she said. “I feel that they really should see the ramifications of waste. I believe that it would make people really think about their purchases. It isn’t magic just because it’s removed from our lives. It went somewhere, and I think students should see where waste has gone.”

Guaicochea agreed with Carpenter.

“That’s what Keep America Beautiful’s America Recycles Day is all about,” Guaicochea said. “A lot of people don’t know that a lot of our trash and waste is exported to other countries. We hope that by encouraging students to recycle and pledging to do so will help decrease our waste as a campus and generation.”