Keeping Alma’s campus green and reducing the college’s carbon footprint is what the organization LEAPS focuses on achieving. LEAPS, which stands for Leaders for Environmental Awareness, Protection and Sustainability, is a student-run organization that focuses on ways to help students use less wasteful products in their everyday lives.
“LEAPS’ mission is to combat current environmental issues and injustices through a campus perspective,” said Hunter Wilson (’20), the president of LEAPS.
Wilson continued, “LEAPS is devoted to generating awareness of environmental issues through campus education and opportunity, encouraging environmental stewardship, and promoting consistent sustainable practices on campus.”
On Wednesday, November 28 LEAPS, along with Active Minds and members of the McCurty House, held a “Green Me Up” event in Van Dusen. Students were taught different ecofriendly techniques from how to make their own toothpaste and laundry detergent to making healthy face masks and body scrubs.
Advice was also given to students about ways to be greener in their everyday lives, such as watching the products they use, especially when it comes to feminine health care.
Recycling is a big part of what LEAPS does as well. The members, like Christopher Nouhan (‘20), help promote better awareness of what can be recycled and what cannot.
“A lot of people think you can recycle pizza boxes, [and] you cannot recycle pizza boxes,” said Nouhan. “They’re dirty, they have food on them and byproducts are not allowed to be recycled.” Douglass Dice, Head of Facilities, agreed with Nouhan.
Nouhan went on to explain that all plastic one recycles, such as milk jugs, should be thoroughly rinsed about before being placed in the bins. “Straws [and lids] are a large portion of plastic waste, especially in the ocean and landfills,” said Nouhan. “I personally never use straws or plastic lids.”
However, if a recycling bin has been contaminated with food or byproducts, then the college is forced to throw it out. Dice explained that the reason for this is because of the recycling company that the college works with, whom does not allow for food products of any kind to be sent to them.
Dice and the members of LEAPS have provided advice for students to help reduce campus waste. Turning off lights when they are not needed, watching food waste and using the compost bins, as well as using fewer plastic straws and lids from Joe’s were all mentioned.
Wilson suggested the dorms having energy wars where the dorm that uses the least energy wins a prize. One way to do this is to make sure that your room windows are latched shut and not just closed.
“We find that students will close their windows, but they won’t latch them a lot of times,” said Dice. “When you latch a window, it actually works that compression strip as a weather seal and helps keep the windows efficient.”
One of the biggest waste issues mentioned by members of LEAPS is at the end of the year when student throw out usable furniture and other products. A suggesting is too take unwanted furniture to a thrift store rather than just throwing it out.
“Campus swap meets at the end of each semester would be beneficial in preventing waste such as furniture and appliances, school supplies, e-waste, etc.,” said Wilson.