Things at JCU have been getting a little greener this week. In honor of Earth Day, on April 22, the Recycling and Sustainability committees, partnered with the Environmental Issues Group at JCU, held the first of what they hope will become an annual tradition: Green Streak Week.
Throughout the past week, and continuing until Saturday, April 28, students on the committees have been partaking in various activities to increase awareness of environmental issues on campus.
An estimated 10 to 15 students were involved in the planning and execution of the week’s activities. The committee itself is fairly new, and Green Streak Week is one of its first major events.
Chris Razek, a freshman who helped coordinate the events, said that it has been a success. Anyone who has been on campus this week has probably seen the string of bottles surrounding the main Quad. “We did the water bottle display out on the Quad, and I think it got people talking,” Razek said.
Caitlyn Falasco, a senior and president of the Environmental Issues Group, also had a significant role in this week’s activities. She too, noted the bottle visual as one of the highlights of the initiative.
“It forces you to confront issues that you don’t really confront in your everyday life,” she said. “You throw away your plastic bottle and expect to never see it again, and here it is back from the dead on your campus. And this is only one day’s worth [of trash].”
The purpose of the trash audit on Tuesday was to demonstrate how many things people throw away on campus that should be recycled.
“Most of the reason why people don’t recycle is either ignorance or the facilities are not available,” said Falasco. “If recycling bins outnumbered trash cans then people would be forced to recycle.”
The group feels that JCU has a long way to go to become a truly sustainable, “green” campus. “We don’t think that John Carroll is doing enough to promote recycling and to give sustainability issues a level head,” said Razek. “We want to bring the sustainability issue and environmental protection to the student body.”
Falasco agreed that the University needs an extra push in its environmental awareness and efforts. “John Carroll is marketing itself as becoming greener, and so we want them to hold true to that promise and we want the students to identify with it as part of John Carroll’s values,” she said.
Since the group is still in its initial stages, the goal of this year’s Green Streak Week is awareness. Esther D’Mello, a junior who helped coordinate the week, said, “We’re just trying to be more sustainable on campus. I feel like there’s so much more we can do and this is just our first step to make people aware of being more sustainable and being more green.” The next step is to get the JCU community to start taking action, she said.
The week kicked off with an Earth Day Lunch in the Schott Dining Hall and an environmental documentary on Monday night. Tuesday, the group participated in a waste audit on the Quad, during which they picked through trash bags from around campus and sorted it into different recycling bins.
On “Water Wednesday,” they distributed free reusable water bottles in the LSC Atrium and hosted a water tasting. The activities continue with today’s information fair and Friday’s Tremco tour in Beachwood, as well as pop can lamp making. The week’s events will end with Saturday’s Jesuit Day of Service that will include JCU students, alumni, staff and faculty.
Aside from continuing their efforts to promote recycling on campus, the Sustainaiblity and Recycling committees are starting a bike co-op on campus that students can use to rent bikes for a day with the goal of reducing the pollution created by car use. Razek said that he hopes the group will grow and start holding even more events in the future.
“Hopefully we’ll hit the ground running in August or September next year and do some events in the next semester,” he said.