Saving the Planet One Day at a Time

‘Recycle, reduce, reuse and close the loop.’ This catchy phrase was introduced to us during our childhoods as animated character Recycle Rex attempted to sing us all into recycling. Apparently, the cute dinosaur wasn’t enough to encourage our good recycling habits as adults.
According to the Anteaters for Recycling and Conservation, UC Irvine has the lowest number of environmentally focused student groups out of all of the UC campuses. It also has one of the lowest recycling rates in the UC system.
ARC hopes to boost recycling at UCI through educating the student body about the environment and hosting creative campus events that encourage students to recycle and reuse.
ARC started as a new organization on campus this year. ‘The club gathers students together to promote recycling and conservation awareness at the UCI campus,’ explained second-year sociology and environmental analysis and design double major and ARC President, Kim Pham. ‘I want students at UCI to be known as activists and doers, rather than talkers.’
ARC’s main goals are to preserve natural resources, keep waste out of landfills, reduce the use of disposable products, reuse more products and recycle what we can’t use anymore.
ARC’s Web site, http//, plays a major role in the group’s effort to spread environmental awareness to the student body. The Web site includes environmental facts meant to encourage recycling and the reuse of disposable products like, ‘By recycling one ton of paper you save 17 trees, 6,953 gallons of water and 463 gallons of oil.’
The Web site also includes information on what types of products are recyclable, where you can go to recycle your goods and who you can contact about having recycled goods picked up.
Currently there are over 200 recycle bins located around campus. Included on its Web site, ARC lists the exact location of each recycle bin located near any of the many buildings on campus to give students every opportunity to recycle during their typical days on campus.
ARC prides itself on not being a typical club at UCI. It strives to use fun and modern campus events to attract awareness to their cause.
‘ARC is not the type of group where you sit and sort bottles,’ explained first-year environmental analysis and design major Theresa Bhardwaj. ‘It’s a modern take on conservation and recycling. Our events are not what you would expect of a typical environmental oriented club.’
Bhardwaj joined the club this past quarter because she believes that recycling and conservation are both important issues, but also because ‘other UCs have come so far, and I feel that UCI needs to step up and start conserving too.’
To further UCI’s effort to boost recycling, ARC participates in school bake sales, the Dorm Move-Out for charity event and Earth Day.
ARC’s feature event of the year, entitled ‘America’s Next Top Re-Model,’ a spin-off of the popular UPN show, will be held June 2 at 7 p.m. in the Crystal Cove Auditorium on campus.
‘I wanted to start the club with a big bang and I wanted to do something different at the UCI campus,’ Pham explained. ‘The Next Top Re-Model will have the best of both worlds as it spreads a good message as well as serves as a social event.’
The event will feature a reused/recycled/vintage fashion show meant to encourage students to reuse their clothing and other useful materials at home. Pham hopes that through this event ‘students on campus will realize that sustainable issues such as recycling and conservation are fun. This event stands for the positive difference UCI is looking for.’
Michelle Ma, ARC secretary, hopes that ‘the event will be successful in involving all students, not only those who are already aware of such environmental issues. I want it to reach those who are not too aware of the impact that humans have on our environment.’
Bhardwaj added, ‘I would recommend students to join ARC because it is definitely not your typical club. We are very interactive and have some great dedicated individuals in the club.’
New members are always wanted, but Pham recognizes that students don’t need to be members of the club to help in the cause to save the planet. They can do simple things in their everyday lives that would help immensely.
Pham suggests that some important things that you can do on your own at home are simply recycling your ink cartridges, papers, newspapers, glass and bottles on campus wherever you see a recycle bin.
ARC meets on Wednesday nights at 7 p.m. in Social Science Lab 159. Pham encourages everyone to come check out the club and to get involved. ‘We need all the help we can get to begin to educate the UCI campus about conservation and other means of environmental concern.’