My name is Malina Long and my largest project this year with the Zero Waste Team was to plan the 3rd Annual UCSC Campus Cleanup. Even though this event took place in the spring, my committee and I began planning this event all the way back in winter quarter! We’ve gone through so, so, SO many different unexpected challenges throughout these past few months, but we made it over them and had a successful event. At the end of the day, volunteers collected 224.4lbs pounds of litter! We collected 82.8lbs of trash, 81lbs of recycling, 33.2lbs of compost, 25.2lbs of electronic/hazardous waste, and 2.2lbs of cigarettes!
Many people might not know this, but planning an event of this scale takes a tremendous amount of work. From an outsider perspective, it may not look like much—food, t-shirts, buckets, bags, signs—it’s just getting things from A to B...right? Well, not exactly. This is true for our three smaller cleanups that we held during fall quarter, but definitely not true for the 3rd Annual Campus Cleanup, an event that brings in over 150 people each year. There are many hoops we have to jump through in order to ensure that we are doing things correctly! SEVERAL permits, forms, emails, and meetings are required to make every little thing you see possible.
For example, take for instance getting the food for our volunteers. In order to get food, we had to reach out to not one, not two, not three, but even more people! Getting food was not just about finding out where to get it from, but figuring out how we would pay for it. We had to make a budget, put in several funding requests, and present to student senates all around campus! We also had to figure out who would get the permits for the food and tables, who would pick up the food, who would store the food, who would serve the food, et cetera... As you can see, a lot of steps go into making just ONE aspect of our event happen! Multiply this process by all the other things we need for the event, and it gets really complicated, really quick!
So why do we do so much work for one day? Why do we take our time to create an event that is focused on TRASH? Because it is our job, as students, campus users, and beings on this Earth to take responsibility for the products we choose to create, use, and dispose of on this planet. This trash will be here forever and will continue to impact beings, human and non-human, forever. We must do all that we can to lessen this negative impact by working towards creating a positive impact. We have a lot of power as humans on this planet. We have the power to make small choices NOW and we must remember that OUR choices WILL have a large impact later. This day serves as a reminder to always be conscious of our actions, our environment, and to care for our planet. It is, after all, our home.
For more info on the Zero Waste Team and Campus Cleanup Day go to goo.gl/x6OfwX