Environmental Club Hosts Annual Earth Day

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By Matt Melucci

The Stuyvesant Environmental Club hosted its annual Earth Day Fair on April 18. This year’s theme was recycling. The various table booths stationed around the cafeteria highlighted the importance of acknowledging current environmental issues, such as pollution, and encouraged students to take action by actively recycling. Students could also participate in other educational activities, such as games and painting.

The fair was coordinated by the cabinet members of the Environmental Club and biology teacher Marissa Maggio. “The fair took about a month to coordinate. We had less time to prepare this year, because SING! ended so late. Our club members came to meetings twice a week at first, then almost every day during the last week so that they could work on decorating their poster boards. Ms. Maggio was a huge driving force behind the planning of the fair; she obtained the permits for us to use the cafeteria and helped us purchase supplies. Ms. Maggio was also the reason why we got Principal Eric Contreras, Assistant Principal of Pupil Personnel Services Casey Pedrick, and SPARK counselor Colon to attend,” both senior and President Kenny Wong and junior and Vice President Julia Hart said in a joint statement via e-mail.

Members of the Environmental Club designed posters for the event. Topics included the history of recycling, how various countries around the world recycle, future methods of recycling, and Stuyvesant’s current recycling plan. “Each group spent about a half-dozen afternoons putting their presentation together. Because we were on an especially tight schedule this year, it was hectic at times, but our commitment paid off with our great presentations,” sophomore Jonathan Chen said.

Students who attended the fair described it as a valuable experience. “I learned how to live more sustainably and how to properly handle the waste I produce to reduce my negative impact on [the] Earth. It was nice seeing posters that showed examples of situations where waste is having a detrimental effect on the environment as well as possible activities in that individuals could do to lessen this impact,” freshman Jason Jiang said.

Poster boards were not the only feature presented at the fair. At one station, students played a game that involved landing a hoop onto bowling pins. At another booth, students painted suncatchers, which were made of clear hardened plastic. Once they dried, the suncatchers were delivered to the students’ respective homerooms to adorn the windows.

Many staff members also participated in activities. Pedrick, Colon, and Maggio participated in a recycling game. The staff were split into teams, where Pedrick and Colon constituted one team, and Maggio the other. The objective of the game was to sort recyclables, including paper, cartons, and food waste, into their correct boxes. Pedrick and Colon finished first, but they had sorted one item in the wrong recycling bin. Maggio finished second, with all items in their correct bins. The winner of the game was ultimately undeclared.

Recycling has become one of the easiest and most accessible methods of combating pollution. However, not everyone knows how to recycle properly. The Environmental Club hopes to increase awareness about these issues through more fairs in the future.“It's important for students to learn about recycling because proper education is the only way to an efficient waste-management system. If students don't know how to recycle the right way, their recyclables have a pretty good chance of ending up in the landfill,” Hart said. “Events like the Earth Day Fair teach people to care about where their waste should go and how they can make sure it gets there.”