Agriculture and Environmental clubs seek to improve campus

February 8, 2018 — by Chelsea Leung and Kaitlyn Wang

Though most garden plots around school are filled with flowers or other generic plants, students were surprised to find edible crops growing behind the ceramics room recently.

The Agriculture Club, which started this year, has planted one of four garden plots near the ceramics room. According to junior co-president Kevin Jin, the club is using the space to grow peas and carrots during lunch meetings on Thursdays. The peas are doing the best so far, growing to about one foot high. Although Agriculture Club began planting during first semester, the carrots only recently sprouted, as a result of the cold winter weather.

The maintenance crew, who also do gardening work on campus, maintains the other plots. Agriculture Club borrowed shovels from them and also brought tools from home to work on their plot.

Since the club plans to donate crops to charities such as West Valley Community Services, Jin said that the gardening project is a good start to Agriculture Club’s first year of existence and a way for the four active members to learn the basics of agriculture.

“As a first-year club, it is really difficult to attract many many members, especially since many people in Saratoga are more engaged in STEM fields,” Jin said. “For now, our goals are simply to raise awareness of the impact and complexity within the agricultural field.”

Environmental Club, like Agriculture Club, is also striving to increase member involvement through campus projects.

Because some students mistake the gray recycling bins for trash cans, Environmental Club has recently attached signs that clearly identify the bins as recycling. Members and officers attached laminated signs to garbage cans and recycling bins around campus, illustrating what items can be thrown away or recycled.

“We know that the signs are not an end-all solution, but a goal of the project is to make recycling as easy as possible for everyone,” senior Environmental Club co-president Dasha Gousseva said.

The club officers hope to pair every trash can on campus with a recycling bin so that students do not throw away something recyclable for convenience’s sake.

In order to help students understand what can be recycled and what can be thrown away, Environmental Club organized a sorting game to further educate students on the recycling process for the Speak Up for Change cultural fair.

After playing the game, many students expressed surprise that individual plastic bags must be thrown away because they slow down the recycling process by getting caught in machines. By contrast, plastic bags gathered into a single plastic bag can be recycled because they are compacted.

Environmental Club, like Agriculture Club, has also collaborated with maintenance supervisor Brian Moran. After discussing the lack of classroom recycling bins with Moran, Environmental club officers checked every classroom to note which teachers needed recycling bins and which teachers had multiple bins that could be transferred to other classrooms.

The officers plan to email teachers about the project and to remind them that the school’s recycling is single stream, meaning all items are mixed together and do not have to be sorted.

Gousseva called the project “a great opportunity for outreach.”