Bringing back the bins

Earth Club re-institutes recycling to draw attention to the community’s impact on the environment


Photo by Kathleen Ameis

PLANTY PROJECT: Pictured above is Earth Club’s on-campus garden and its tenders. This work provides for the community and encourages green living.

On Roncalli’s enrichment day, November 6th, a handful of students spent their day off cleaning recycling bins that are now found in classrooms and hallways all around the school. The students responsible for this hard work were members of the Earth Club. 

This isn’t the first time Earth Club has made a difference on the campus. STARS teacher Molly Schrader, a coordinator of this group, describes the club’s roots and past successes.

“Katrina Gangstad and Anne Ameis were instrumental in getting this club started,” Schrader said. “Last spring, Mr. Niewedde and some of the girls planted a garden on campus to donate to local food pantries. When he left, Mr. North and I became the new moderators.”

The discontinuation of recycling last year caused Earth Club to take action and change this. Junior Katrina Gangstad, a founder of the club, explains what Earth Club is all about and offers an explanation for why the club wanted to bring back the bins.

“Earth Club is an organization that is dedicated to making Roncalli more eco-friendly,” Gangstad said. “Our main goals are to increase recycling, grow local produce in the garden, and raise awareness for the environment.”

Gangstad also explains simple ways the community can get involved to reduce waste.

“The main way Roncalli can improve environmental sustainability is to encourage students to recycle plastic bottles and paper,” Gangstad said. “Although these seem like simple actions, when the whole school recycles, it has a significant impact.”

Club members encourage everyone to become familiar with what can be recycled by referring to signs above the bins in classrooms. Junior Anne Ameis, another Earth Club pioneer, builds on the club’s plans and their fruitfulness.

“Right now we are focusing on recycling, but in the future, we would like to continue the garden at Roncalli,” Ameis said. “Both require dedication and hardwork, but the results are quite rewarding.”

While current projects are in motion, service opportunities will also be available to any student interested in helping the environment for their hours.

“We are interested in doing off-campus service projects and activities, such as hiking, once there are no more restrictions,” Ameis said.

In addition to providing a means of service hours, helping take care of the environment aligns with the beliefs of the pope. Schrader noticed the connection between Pope Francis’ encyclical “Laudato si”’ and the dedication she saw from Earth Club on November 6th.

 “Their passion in fulfilling the work of mercy, caring for the earth, is inspiring,” Schrader said. “Caring for creation is what we are called to do as Christians.”

With the hopes of making the community more aware of its impact on the environment and to promote sustainable lifestyles, Earth Club will continue to develop their green thumbs and do God’s work one recycling bin at a time. Any student wanting to join this work can look to the service calendar for upcoming events.