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Students pick up trash to promote recycling

Cigarette butts, ragged event fliers and flattened soda cans were more like treasure than trash to a handful of volunteers combing through parking lots, streets and grass on campus Thursday.

The Student Environmental Association (SEA) sponsored its first Campus Clean Up during Sustain-A-Bull Week. SEA members and volunteers collected trash and recyclables to build an Earth Day sculpture.

Over the course of three hours, volunteers made their way on foot from MLK Plaza to Sycamore Drive and areas surrounding Cooper Hall. Participants separated the trash and recyclables into large bags bulging with everything from Styrofoam containers to wire coat hangers.

Brian Trang, a senior biomedical science major, found dozens of aluminum cans and plastic bottles on the ground and in trash cans. He said the campus is relatively clean but has room for improvement.

“There’s a lot I see that we can recycle,” Trang said.

Parking lots were crowded with fast-food containers, beer bottles, plastic cups and event fliers.

Trang said club promoters add to the problem when they place fliers on car windshields. Students often throw the fliers on the ground instead of disposing of them properly.

Volunteers found unusual items during the cleanup, including plastic car parts, half of a cellular phone, CDs, an old sock, boxes of condoms and laxatives, a diary page and underwear.

Lyndsey Scofield, a junior environmental science and policy major, said the University can reduce litter by better informing students about recycling.

“There needs to be an educational outreach on why it’s important to recycle and what you can recycle,” she said.

The main recycling center on campus is on Sycamore, near the intramural fields. There, students can recycle newspaper, glass, aluminum, paper, cardboard and plastics with a “1” or “2” on them.

Although some vending machines have recycling bins next to them, Scofield said she’s heard about groundskeepers empting recyclables into trash cans at the end of the day.

“I just don’t understand why people have an aversion to throwing trash where it belongs,” Scofield said.

SEA is trying to get more recycling bins on campus. So far, Student Government has passed two resolutions for the idea. SEA members will be meeting with administrators soon to present their plan.

“Administrators might be keener on it because of what President Judy Genshaft is signing this weekend,” Scofield said.

On Saturday, Genshaft signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment during the Getting Green by Going Green Expo at the Sun Dome.

The next day, volunteers started working on a sculpture of a manatee in hopes of displaying it in time for Earth Day on April 22.

The manatee’s skin was made from cardboard and its insides from plastic bottles and aluminum cans. The flippers were constructed using paper bags stuffed with crumpled newspaper.

The fully recyclable final product was covered with paper mache and painted.

The SEA meets every Monday at 6 p.m. For upcoming SEA events, visit