Collegiate students from the 2012 Emerging Leaders Conference spent 3 weeks after the conference working on their environmental issue – locally. What could we do on campus to impact the issue of overconsumption and waste in the United States?

After identifying the issue of plastic waste reduction in our school cafeteria, we gathered information, interviewed stakeholders, and reviewed budgets. Finally we created a presentation for the school administration with several suggestions for waste reduction strategies. Some of these were immediately implemented, along with an educational dimension for fellow students.

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Other changes were more of a slow process, but this fall when school reopened at Collegiate there were several significant improvements in this area.

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Larger and more visible recycling cans next to every trash can.

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Compostable take out food containers.

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Compostable drinking cups.

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Water bottle fountains.

The leadership skills and creative solution-orientated thinking gained through the Emerging Leaders conference have helped improve our local community – and our local environment.

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