Environmental Club sustains presence at University

Juliette Gaggini, News Co-Editor

The University has many clubs on campus where students can get involved in the things they are interested in and are passionate about. As concerns continue to rise globally in regards to climate change, students everywhere are getting more engaged in environmental issues and are doing what they can to make a difference within their communities. 

One great way students can get involved with environmental issues at the University is through the Environmental Club, which is a student-run club on campus that hosts events and leads initiatives that contribute to keeping the community environmentally conscious and clean. 

The Environmental Club began years ago and is now led by Co-Presidents Sarah Frischmann ’23 and Brennan Smith ’24. Environmental Club looks to provide a safe, welcoming atmosphere where students feel empowered and comfortable expressing their ideas and taking action in protecting the environment. 

“We aim to be inclusive and intersectional when discussing sustainability and climate change topics,” Frischmann said. “By learning more about the environment and best practices to fight climate change, we hope students and the community feel inspired to make sustainable changes that positively contribute to a healthier lifestyle and cleaner planet. Our events focus on these principles by providing an activity, service, discussion or educational program that promotes a greener future.”

This past semester, the club hosted an array of events. On Nov. 7 from 4:30-6 pm, the club held a golf ball clean-up at the University golf course where they joined forces with another club and a few sports teams. 

The Environmental Club also hosted a birdhouse event on November 17 at the Seventh Street Makerspace where members painted compartmental birdhouses. This Spring, the club will hang the birdhouse up at the University Farm. When asked about her favorite event so far, Frischmann said, “My favorite event has been the birdhouse painting because as an artist, I love to express my creativity through drawing and painting. I thought of having each little bird compartment having its own type of garden flower. It was so fun to see different people come together to create beautiful artwork that could be used in the University community.”

On Nov. 29 from 5:30-7 p.m. at the Commons, the club hosted its membership dinner. The club is hosting an upcoming clothing swap event this Sunday, Dec. 5 from 5-7 p.m. in the Walls Lounge. “Everyone is encouraged to bring unwanted clothes and swap them for new clothing (especially dresses). This event is being held to reduce clothing waste by cycling as many clothes as possible and donating any extra to local charities,” Frischmann said.

Along with their fun and engaging activities, the Environmental Club has an initiative called Ray’cycle. Riley DeBaecke ’23 runs the initiative on campus. “Ray’cycle started in Spring 2020 as a team of chemical engineers looking to mitigate the imminent increase in campus plastics due to the pandemic. I was incoming co-president of the Environmental Club at the time, and they reached out to me to help manage their project,” said DeBaecke.

“The project started as a way to turn campus plastics into reusable plastic goods using a plastic pulverizing machine we have on campus, and I ran several collections last year with the Environmental Club to get the initiative going. Now, we’re looking to expand to collect plastics around campus daily from all Bucknellians, and we are looking to outsource our production to a plastics processing plant owned by an alumni in New Jersey,” continued DeBaecke. 

“Managing this project has been a great experience because it requires me to interact with people across majors and departments on campus. It’s really awesome to see staff members in Facilities and Campus Activities come together to help us with this initiative,” said DeBaecke.

The club’s Social Media Manager, Bella Angiullo ’23, was passionate about the impact the club has on campus. “We really want to spread awareness about what we do as a club and the environmental impacts that we as individuals and us as a school have and work as a group to bring attention to that and do the best we can to fix those problems as a school,” Angiullo said.

Members of the club are optimistic about overall sustainability on campus. “The University does a good job of listening to students and making sure that their ideas are heard in terms of sustainability projects. There are lots of resources on campus to get involved with sustainability at the University, but I do believe there are always ways we can improve on sustainability,” Frischmann said.   

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