By Katie Cosgrove
All week students have paraded around with recycled pens, awareness bracelets, and stainless steel travel mugs. Green clothes and accessories filled classrooms on Monday for Earth Day. Recycle bins overflowed in the hallways of Old Main.
Project Conservation is the club that is sponsoring the events all week in celebration of Earth Day. They do multiple events throughout the year to urge students to get in the mindset of being environmentally conscious in their everyday lives.
Most weeks out of the year Project Conservation sets up “Cans for Cash” in the Student Center on Sunday afternoons to collect bottles and cans so that students can recycle without leaving campus. The not-for-profit event gives participants the money that they would make at the store. They also sponsor Green Consumer Day in the fall, Blackout Battle and various documentaries and speakers.
Celebrating the day by making a conscious effort to help reduce waste of trash and energy might be a good way to open people’s eyes, but it is not always effective for long term goals. Project Conservation struggles to show the college population that once-a-year practices really need to turn into solid habits.
One of the biggest things slowing them down is the lack of support and attendance within their club.
“It’s frustrating when attendance trickles down to just the E-Board showing up to meetings,” President of Project Conservation Jacqueline Krajnik said.
Nervous about the future of the club, Krajnik is still trying to find people to run the E-Board for next semester since she, and the rest of the current E-Board members, are graduating in a couple weeks.
“It’s disheartening especially because at the beginning of fall semester we had a strong attendance,” Krajnik explained. “We’ve cut back on the number of meetings but it didn’t help … We don’t know what else to do or what would get them to come to our meetings again.
Project Conservation is just one of many clubs that are combating the lack of attendance and members. Amnesty International, Amici d’Italia, and Griffin TV are a few that are also looking to fill their E-Boards for the upcoming semester.
President of Society of Professional Journalists, Hayden Ristevski, related to these issues when she said, “As our first year as a club I had really high hopes, but it’s discouraging when an E-Board spends so much time and effort planning into events and then nobody shows up.”
Classes, clubs and, billboards encourage students to go exploring but sometimes these students might need the incentive of free pizza and extra credit to learn something new.
Earius McCloud says that clubs like Project Conservation “educate those of us who might not be familiar with the topic. By having incentives for me to go, like pizza, I learn something about the world and how come I should recycle.”
E-Board members of most clubs are constantly trying to think of creative giveaways that will not only fill a student’s stomach, but also help them make positive changes.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to rethink the way they live their lives,” Krajnik said. “A lot of times we hear people say that they can’t afford things or keep forgetting to buy a reusable water bottle. Well, here, we’ll give them to you.”
Project Conservation, like other clubs, succeed at influencing these changes but fear that they won’t be able to do that in future semesters because lack of support.
“I’ve already used my travel mug four times; it’s keepin’ my tea warm,” McCloud said, holding up his “hot” new freebie from Project Conservation.
These worthwhile events are run solely on student participation and support. Whether it’s becoming a part of a club or showing up to events, the students at Canisius have to help each other. Also, if Undergraduate Student Association reconsiders its policies after the recent stipend controversy, E-Board members might have the opportunity to assign themselves modest allowances – another convincing reason to get involved.
This is the time of year for clubs to run elections and transition for next semester’s E-Board. Some clubs don’t even have people to fill these positions. The graphic BELOW?? is a list of clubs on campus that are currently reaching out for new members, more of an audience or people to fill E-Board spots.
The surprising thing is that Project Conservation lost support so easily. Two years ago, Project Conservation won Club of the Year. Now, people are just using them as a jet-leg to get free items that would normally empty a broke college student’s pocket. Clubs that were at one point so important to the College are falling by the wayside, having members scrounge the barren Collegiate Link for support and trying to gain hope that something will change in Fall 2013.