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August 21, 2014

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Represent and recycle

Meeting emphasizes importance of establishing programs at schools

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Heather Cory

From left to right, Jillian Buitre, Marc Aguilar and Charmaine Cadiz play a game of trivia during a recycling meeting at Liberty High School on Monday. The meeting was held for students from all over the southeast region to discuss recycling efforts and to get to know each other.

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Liberty's Jillian Buitre sets up games ready for a regional recycling meeting at Liberty High School on Monday.

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Liberty's Rayana Barnes races to sort trash against classmates during a regional recycling meeting at Liberty High School on Monday.

As one of the game moderators at Liberty High School counted down, the students prepared to dig through the trash.

The goal of the Dumpster Dive game, played during the Clark County School District's Southeast regional recycling meeting Oct. 6, was to be the first team to separate all of the plastic, paper, and aluminum into separate containers.

The meeting was one of five held between Sept. 29 and Oct. 9 that aimed to promote communication about recycling between schools in each region and to give students a forum to share ideas.

There is no mandatory recycling program in the district, Liberty Environmental Awareness Club advisor and teacher David Butler said.

It's up to each school if they want to recycle and how they want to go about it, so programs vary.

Butler said some of the issues schools face when trying to get involved with recycling include obtaining containers for recyclable materials and finding recycling entities willing to pick up the materials.

The meeting provided a chance for different schools to discuss how they overcame these issues and instituted their own programs.

Turnout, however, was not so great.

Event organizer and Cimarron-Memorial High School Earth Club Advisor Jennifer Newman-Cornell said representatives from Greenspun and Charles Silvestri middle schools as well as Doris French Elementary School came by seeking information on how to get recycling programs started. Besides Newman-Cornell, no representatives from other schools that had already started a program attended the meeting.

And the only students present were Liberty student council, National Junior Honor Society and Environmental Awareness Club members.

The less-than-hoped-for showing may have been a result of the need for a lot of schools to get their recycling programs stronger and garner more campus support, Newman-Cornell said.

But far from putting a damper on the evening, the small crowd simply resulted in more time for Liberty students to spend playing a series of recycling-themed games created for the event.

Students drew oil spills and landfills in a game of Pictionary, answered recycling trivia in "Jeopardy" and a version of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" and tested their balance in a version of Twister that depicted bottles, cans and paper and boxes rather than colored dots.

Before taking her turn at any of the games, Environmental Awareness Club member and sophomore Vanessa Barit said she decided to join the after-school club because she felt she needed to do a little bit more to help.

"This is where we live and I don't want it to go to waste," she said.

Butler said since October of last year, about 13 tons of paper have been recycled by the group.

Additionally, this year recycling efforts have been expanded to include plastic, aluminum and cardboard.

Butler said some of future activities the group hopes to take part in include adopting a highway and working with nearby schools to help them create their own recycling programs.

"We want to encourage them to do it because it's not mandatory (in the district)," Butler said.

Newman-Cornell said a meeting for all of the regions will be held Nov. 12.

At that meeting, representatives from each region will speak on behalf of the recycling efforts taking place in their areas, she said.

The hope is that higher-ups from the district will get involved and will see how much the recycling efforts matter, she said.

"It's part of our job ... to help the students understand social responsibility," Butler said. "One of the fundamental ways we can do that is through recycling, reusing and energy conservation."

Ashley Livingston can be reached at 990-8925 or [email protected].

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