Weston: CSU ‘Zero Waste Team’ involvement should inspire others to act

Tyler Weston

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by the Collegian or its editorial board.

Colorado State Football lovers may have noticed something a bit different at the new CSU stadium. People hanging around the trash cans, wearing orange vests and engaging with everyone who came their way had a presence at the game. Don’t worry, they’re not gestapo agents or some sort of facilities maintenance team on the lookout for misbehavior, they are the CSU Zero Waste Team. The team is working to educate and set an example by talking to you about your garbage. The team is an excellent initiative which will not only provide CSU with waste management, but set an example for others. 

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The Zero Waste Team  is a community action group organized in part by Maggie Gilman, a JuniorHuman Dimensions of Natural Resources major. The teams mission is to provide outreach and public education on waste diversion and management in order to divert compostable waste from the Larimer County Landfill and ensure a cleaner waste stream from our university.

CSU tends to laud its various environmental initiatives and accomplishments like badges of honor. We should. Efforts to make ourselves and our community more environmentally sustainable are increasingly important in todays world. In this instance, two of those efforts have almost perfectly collided to create a new initiative. 

In the earlier months of 2017, the university christened a new, expanded composting facility at the foothills campus. The goal is to grow the campus composting program and eventually make it self-sustaining by selling the end product. Along with this enhanced capability to reduce landfill waste, we’ve got this impressive new stadium which, much like many of our buildings, is looking to attain a LEED certification for environmentally friendly buildings.

The ambitious goal that has been set for the stadium includes a requirement for a three-stream waste system, which allows for the separation of recyclable, landfill and compostable waste into three separate bins. Junior apparel design major, Nogah Seidemann said, “there was a big opportunity with the new stadium, to form new habits and change the game day culture.”

While making positive cultural changes on such a large scale may seem like a lofty goal, it’s exactly the kind of impact we should all be striving for. We should act on initiatives that do not necessarily seem present on campus, according to Gilman. Even if you care less about trash,  but really find yourself worried about shelter animals, involvement is key. The list of possibilities is near endless and getting involved in our communities is the most important thing we can dedicate ourselves to.

Between work, school and self care, I can see how it might feel it’d be more than any one person can handle, but the payout is monumental. We are living in unprecedented times, in a nation plagued by divisive rhetoric and increasingly deadly natural disasters. No matter which way your political ideologies lean, the very best way to improve our local, national or even global situation is to roll up our sleeves and get involved in improving it.

If you’d like to start volunteering with the CSU Zero Waste Team you can find sign ups and more information on their Facebook page. If you’d like more information on other ways you can get involved here in our local community, the CSU website has a list of resources to help students make a difference.

Columnist Tyler Weston can be reached at Letters@collegian.com.