“No Waste Left Behind!” educates students about zero waste and sustainability

Christine Tran/HIGHLANDER

On May 31, from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m., clubs and organizations surrounded the Bell Tower for the “No Waste Left Behind!” zero-waste event. The event was hosted by the Green Campus Action Plan (GCAP) in collaboration with the Office of Sustainability, in hopes of promoting a zero-waste lifestyle and the sustainability studies major that is currently available to UCR students.

GCAP and the Office of Sustainability both held activities that educated and encouraged students to be more knowledgeable about living a zero-waste lifestyle. GCAP guided people through how to make their own deodorants, body soap and face scrubs, while explaining what ingredients were being used and the benefits of each one.

The Office of Sustainability quizzed students about fair trade and handed out boxes of tea. Students were also given the option of picking from a variety of seeds and receiving a potted plant. The purpose of this activity was to make people more aware of the environment and encouraging a greener lifestyle by helping them become acquainted with gardening.

“If you want to garden, head over to R’Garden. If you want to get into sustainability, get involved with GCAP. The best students can do is continue or try to advocate for sustainable way of living and reflecting it in your personal life,” stated Victoria Osio, first-year political science major and graphics and design worker at the Office of Sustainability.

Students were also given many zero-waste items to introduce them to sustainable living. The newly established Zero Waste Club gave out build your own sustainability starter kits, which included items like lip balm, metal straws and produce bags. Throughout the event, sustainability major ambassadors hosted giveaways for reusable utensils. To top it all off, Goodwin’s Organics provided vegan smoothies for students to enjoy as they browsed the event.

“The importance of zero waste and how we encourage students is just knowing why. We have a finite amount of space but we keep an infinite lifestyle where we continue to make products,” said Olenka Graham Castaneda, third-year neuroscience major and director of GCAP. “You don’t have to buy anything to be zero waste, just rethink what you are already buying; if you need it or not, or if there is another option.”

Another purpose of the event was to promote UCR’s sustainability studies major. Ambassadors of sustainability studies showed students how classes under this major can connect with other own majors. The major itself focuses on the social side of environmental science and connects more with what people and communities are going through and how they can be sustainable.

“We want to promote our sustainability studies major because not a lot of people know about it and it was created around five or six years ago at UCR,” said Chyna Thai, fourth-year sustainability studies major and media and culture studies minor. “Sustainability is more than just the environment … for me it was really helpful to find another way to be passionate about the environment without being so focused on chemistry and biology.”

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