RecycleFest kicks off awareness campaign

SLOWSHORE headlined RecycleFest on Monday as part of a month-long recycling themed series of events. ORACLE PHOTO/ZACH LEETE

Student musicians sang covers of The Smiths and The B-52s while student-based organizations spread the seeds of recycling knowledge Monday at the Marshall Student Center Amphitheater as part of RecycleFest. 

The event kicked off the month-long recycling awareness program RecycleMania, a collaboration between the Patel College of Global Sustainability (PCGS) and the Student Environmental Association (SEA).

“We’ve been working on RecycleMania since December,” said SEA President Kirsti Martinez. She said RecycleMania is SEA’s most ambitious spring semester project.

Chelsey Swats, vice president of SEA, was in charge of the trivia wall. Students who answered questions about recycling won reusable plastic bottles and Frisbees.

“It is really easy to be sustainable by just staying informed on the most important issues,” Swats said. “Make sure to always recycle. You can find out what you can and can’t recycle by just doing a quick search on the Internet.”

Adit Patel, a graduate student studying global sustainability, was in charge of PCGS’s booth. He said improving student participation in recycling required a new vision.

“We need to move away from preaching at students and become environmental stewards,” Patel said. “We need to step up the interactivity and appealing factor (and) become more relatable.”

SEA’s other table was a craft station for making recycled bottle cap pins. Students fixed a clothes pin to the back of the bottle cap with hot glue, then painted the underside of the cap with watercolor paints at an adjacent table. 

USF’s Marine Biology Club set up a table at the event. Students who correctly answered questions on “Marine Jeopardy” could win various prizes. The club also created a poster board about marine debris.

It included information about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is a collection of marine debris in the North Pacific Ocean that is larger than the state of Texas. The patch is nearly impossible to break up because it is located in the center of a gyre that draws debris in the center with a vortex motion.

Food Activists Revolutionizing Meals (FARM) set up a table to teach students about recycling food. FARM President Danielle Kaminski taught students how to recycle celery, onions, garlic sprouts and romaine lettuce. 

The first week of Recycle Mania is dedicated to recycling, with the next event being a workshop titled “Recycling 101,” which will be held Thursday at 5:30 p.m. in CGS 140.

PCGS graduate students will give presentations on the RecycleMania theme of the week every Thursday. The themes are recycling, food waste, e-waste and upcycling, and plastics. Snacks and refreshments will be available at each presentation.

“I felt like RecycleFest was a success,” Swats said. “We had a lot of fun and people seemed very interested into what we were doing.”