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UA Earth Day showcases campus conservation efforts

By Sean McLachlan
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 22, 1999
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While some students spent Earth Day occupying the Administration Building to protest sweatshop labor, others were learning about recycling and other environmental issues yesterday on the UA Mall.

About a dozen University of Arizona clubs and organizations handed out literature and discussed environmentalism with a small, steady stream of passers-by.

Melissa Enrico, administrative secretary for the UA recycling program, said her program recycles paper, cardboard, aluminum, plastic, newspaper, scrap metal and books. Last year, it generated more than $12,000 from selling waste materials, she said.

But some students "seem not to care" about the impact recycling has on the environment, she added.

"If someone has to walk an extra 10 feet to recycle, they may just put it in the trash," Enrico said.

Another campus group, the Residence Life Recycling Program, is sponsoring an "aluminum race" among the dorms.

Each residence hall competes to recycle the most pounds of aluminum per resident, said program coordinator Phoebe Hunter.

Yuma residence hall has won the last three years, and Coconino dorm has come in second for the same period, said Hunter, a molecular and cellular biology senior.

That winning streak may be repeated this year.

Yuma is currently leading with 2.72 pounds per resident, with Coconino close behind at 2.05 pounds, she said.

Cochise residence hall is dead last, having only recycled a total of seven pounds all year, she said.

Hunter, a Molecular and Cellular Biology senior, said the cans generated about $2,500 for hall activities last year.

Some dorms also recycle other materials like cardboard, Hunter said.

Members of student activist groups were also out on the UA Mall, talking about their campaigns and gathering signatures on petitions.

The Sierra Club boycotted Tucson's Earth Day festivities Saturday because it was sponsored by Raytheon, a major weapons contractor.

While some members were uncomfortable with Pepsi being a co-sponsor of the UA's Earth Day, Sierra Club officials decided to participate. One reason, they said, is because the beverage manufacturer has taken steps to clean up its image.

Pepsi's ties to the Burmese government came under sharp criticism when widespread human rights abuses were covered by the international media.

The company's divestment was "largely due to student activism in this country," said Anne Carl, a 1998 UA alumna.

"We are glad that Pepsi got out of investing in the military that was oppressing the Burmese people," Carl said.

Student groups on the UA Mall included Amnesty International, the Student Environmental Action Coalition, and the UA Horticulture Club.

The Horticulture Club held a plant sale to "teach a love of nature", said member Katie Kratzer, an elementary education junior.