The NDSU student organization Environmental Sustainability Club works to raise awareness of sustainability practices on campus, such as the multiple recycling areas.
The organization strives to educate students on the importance of sustainability practices on campus and beyond. Environmental Sustainability Club not only helps the community, but it also allows students to make friends with people they may not have met before because the club has a wide range of majors.
“I think there are a lot of people on campus who don’t know much (about recycling),” Macy Whitman, vice president of the Environmental Sustainability Club.
Students tend to come from their childhood homes that have been set in their ways, whether it involved recycling or not. When they go to college and are on their own, they want to educate others on the importance and how it helps the environment overall.
The organization holds events, such as tours of recycling facilities, and have also become involved on campus by holding campus clean ups. The club uses contact booths to inform the student body of the importance of sustainability on campus.
Mariah Eriksen, the president of the organization, said the waste audit is her favorite part of her involvement with the organization. The waste audit is where members each wear hazmat suits and go into dumpsters around residence halls throughout campus. They sort out recyclable items they find in the dumpsters and then weigh how much waste could have been recycled that was thrown away.
The president, vice president and treasurer explained how they each joined because sustainability is something they have practiced at home and have had a passion for so they wanted to further their knowledge and be more involved in helping the community and planet.
Many think their one water bottle will not make a difference, but that is not the case. When one person is seen helping the environment it can help inspire others. “People see you doing it (recycling), and then they might feel inspired to do it themselves, so it spreads,” Julia Sattler, treasurer of the organization, said.
“It all adds up. I mean you pick up one gum wrapper and all of the sudden you have a whole garbage bag full of it,” Whitman said. She continued to explain the after effects of cleaning up the campus saying, “After a cleanup, if you have a big bag of garbage, you feel pretty great about what you did.”
Eriksen explained how she wants to make campus recycling easier and make it an equal opportunity to throwing trash away. There are multiple trashcans in one area and one recyclable area, so most students will not see those areas and end up throwing away something recyclable.
“(Recycling) makes an impact on not only your community, but also the planet as a whole”
– Julia Sattler, Treasurer of Environment Sustainability Club
Sattler explained the importance of people knowing there are options on campus to recycle.
Students tend to be confused by the different recycling bins around campus because they are all different. So the club members said they strive to get the same type of recycling around campus to make it an easier process for students.
The organization is looking to advertise more about recycling on campus as well as making it a simple process.
Last spring, the organization received the Bison Service Award for their cleanup work at tailgating. “Last year we would go to tailgating and sort out recyclables from garbage bins because they didn’t have recycling bins, and starting this year they have recycling bins,” Whitman said.
Even during the homecoming parade, they participate by having recycling bins at the end of the parade and picking up afterward. “You can do something to make a positive impact on the environment,” Sattler said.
Around 60 people are signed up, but attendance is around 14 people for involvement. The organization wants to raise the participation to continue the increase of sustainability on campus. Throughout the years of being a part of the organization, Sattler has learned “that people do want to listen or are interested in what you have to say and that’s kind of encouraging when you do something that you’re passionate about.”
The organization meets at 7:30 p.m. every other Tuesday in the Memorial Union Peace Garden room. Next meeting: 7:30 p.m. Nov. 13.
For more information, visit MyNDSU or Facebook at NDSU Environmental Sustainability Club.