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Northwestern Student Groups Aim to Promote Waste Awareness on Earth Day

April 15, 2008
EVANSTON, Ill. --- Northwestern University student groups will collaborate with Facilities Management to host on-campus events promoting waste reduction and recycling awareness for Earth Day, April 22.

A notable part of Earth Day at Northwestern will be the construction of Mt. Trashmore, a large pile of waste representing trash generation on campus, said Northwestern Manager of Recycling and Refuse Julie Cahillane. It will be displayed on the lawn to the west of Lunt Hall.

Virginia Palmer of Engineers for a Sustainable World (ESW) said she thought of the idea for Mt. Trashmore at Northwestern after seeing that Harvard University had made a similar structure.

"I thought it would be a really good activity for Northwestern to promote recycling," said Palmer, a junior in the McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science. "Specifically, ESW is going to be constructing a shell underneath the waste, and we're going to put garbage on top of it."

According to Cahillane, the size of Mt. Trashmore will represent six hours of trash generation on campus.

As a member of Students for Ecological and Environmental Development (SEED), Laura Christian said the group hopes facts about recycling displayed at Mt. Trashmore will increase student awareness about waste generated on campus.

"We want students to learn something, in addition to seeing the huge visual of Mt. Trashmore," said Christian, a junior in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences.

Students groups are also planning a "carry your waste" event where participants will carry their trash and recycling around in clear bags for the week leading up to Earth Day.

"People will then be able to take their waste to the event and add it to the pile on Mt. Trashmore," said Sam Schiller, a junior in the School of Education and Social Policy and member of Environmental Campus Outreach at Hillel (ECO). "It is very exciting that we are able to collaborate with other students and groups on this recycling initiative to make Northwestern more environmentally friendly."

According to Cahillane, Earth Day events will be held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday, April 22, weather permitting.

"In general, I believe the more we provide to the Northwestern University community about sustainability, recycling and energy efficiency, the better," said Cahillane. "I think we are starting to see a culture shift in this area, and open lines of conversation will enhance the campus perception of and commitment to environmental practices."

More information about Earth Day at Northwestern can be found at www.whathappenstotrash.com.
Topics: Campus Life