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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Student group expanding sustainability efforts at Spring Fling

Tom Price

Sarah Bertram, a sophomore studying physiology and molecular and cellular biology, and Lia Ossanna, an environmental science freshman, collect trash and recycling from Spring Fling on April 10, 2016. Students for Sustainability have expanded their efforts at Spring Fling this year.

Students for Sustainability members are preparing for a busy weekend of recycling, composting and teaching others on how they can become more environmentally friendly in strong efforts to keep Spring Fling going green. 

Spring Fling came back to campus in 2014 after being at Rillito Downs for 10 years. 

Julia Rudnick, coordinator of sustainability programs at the UA, said during the move organizers decided to start a stronger green initiative at Spring Fling, including more efforts in recycling, composting and education. 

Students for Sustainability is under the Associated Students of the University of Arizona and has about 60-90 students a semester who work in committees on projects, including the UA Community Garden, Greening the Game, HydroCats and the Energy and Climate Committee for student energy advocacy.

“Spring Fling has about 30,000 people, so whether people are from Tucson or Phoenix or wherever, it gives people a really good idea of what students are involved with on campus in terms of sustainability,” said Cole Pihl, co-director of SFS and an environmental science senior.

Students for Sustainability and the committees under it decided they wanted to work together with Spring Fling organizers to take stronger green initiatives. 

The initiatives were supported through a grant of $1,500 to make all of the purchasing for student clubs environmentally friendly.


“Now all of the clubs are using environmentally friendly products, which in turn make the diversion rate, or the amount of things that can be kept from going to a landfill, higher,” Rudnick said.

Hannah Roth, committee chair for the Greening the Game and a environmental studies senior, said this year there will be 10 stations consisting of garbage, compost and recyclable bins around the Spring Fling event where trained SFS members will educate Spring Fling visitors on how to sort their trash environmentally. Last year, there were about five stations, according to Roth.  

This year, a table set up to educate children will be introduced through interactive games like spin the wheel and a giant Jenga game. Two to three students will be at a table on Saturday and Sunday with poster boards to show kids which trash is recyclable and compostable.

“It’s really hard to get people to break their behavior, but if you can show them how to properly dispose of it, it helps with environmental issues,” Roth said. “You grow up with a mindset that you throw it in the trash and you forget; you don’t have to see it or think about it. So I think us being at these events … draws a lot of people and really helps put it into people’s minds and reminds them that just because you got rid of something, it doesn’t mean it has no impact on Earth.”

For last year’s Spring Fling, SWS collected a total of 1,679 pounds of compost, 2,500 pounds of recyclable items, 3,160 pounds of landfill and a total of 698 pounds of cooking grease, which is also collected and made into biodiesel, according to the Office of Sustainability’s statistics.


Roth said she thinks their efforts and presence at Spring Fling are important because they showcase the different organizations on campus to visitors. 

“We work with facilities’ managements to be able to get the recycling and trash picked up. Compost Cats, green purchasing and the Green Team—it’s good to show people there are so many different efforts you can get involved in,” Roth said.

Roth was a committee member for Greening the Game last year and spent her time volunteering and educating about sustainable efforts at last year’s Spring Fling.

“This year has been very different because I get to see how much actually goes into it. It’s not just a sustainability group saying ‘we want to compost;’ we gotta work with the composting group, the office of sustainability to make sure someone picks up the compost and recycling and with green purchasing so we can have things that we can actually compost,” Roth said.

“It’s been very different, but I have loved to see how everything works together with ASUA and SFS clubs; it’s been a really good learning experience,” she added.

Follow Angela Martinez on Twitter.

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