Cleanup Campaign Tackles Trash Problem

Around Dimond High School, many things are noticeable—some things good, others bad. Looking around the inside of Dimond, the school is neat, clean and well kept. However, once you exit the building the story changes. Trash is scattered around the parking lot. Taco Bell, McDonalds and Great Alaska Pizza Co. boxes decorate the parking lots. “It’s gross man. This is your school, I don’t get why you guys don’t throw the garbage in the garbage cans,” Jon Ticket, a security officer, says. “It really does get kind of ridiculous,” Erik Thomson-Hale, a sophomore, says. “I see people throwing their garbage on the ground like that’s just where it goes. It’s dumb.” Students at Dimond either agree that the trash is a problem or claim that they have never really noticed it, but not many students are doing much to help fix the problem. But Dimond registrar and PTSA secretary Carrie Smith, along with PTSA president Suzanne Hueners and other members of the PTSA, decided to take matters into their own hands. Smith and the PTSA decided to start up Dimond’s newest program, the “Keep Your Campus Clean” campaign. Originally, the idea belonged to Eric Hueners, a senior. Hueners came up with the idea in a technical writing class, and the PTSA just picked up on it. The original design meant to divvy up Dimond’s entire campus to the different groups, such as the football team, basketball team and other various clubs and sports teams. However, doubting the campaign would garner much support, the PTA went away from that idea and took matters into their own hands, hoping to gain support along the way. The KYCC logo, which features Carl the Lynx, was made possible thanks to Alaska Newspapers and also Camai Alaska. The Z-Club also has been helpful during the beginning stages of KYCC. So far, the campaign has only taken baby steps, but much work has been done, nonetheless. Signs are up all over campus and bags were made up and put on students’ cars hoping the students would simply put them in their cars and use them as trash bags. Instead, many bags were thrown back out onto the parking lot, moving away from the original goal. Every week, two to three announcements are made regarding the campaign, for those that listen. On April 12, the first major event happened, when the PTSA moms went out to clean the parking lot for the kids. Three days later, on April 15, Z-Club joined the PTSA and again cleaned our campus, hoping to have it look nice for prom that weekend. However, it’s not stopping there. “Student’s need to take ownership of their campus,” Smith says. “This is your school. This is my work. I don’t like seeing it trashed and I know students don’t either.” Next year, the PTSA leadership positions will be refilled, as many seniors will be graduating and parents will be moving on. But the program will remain. “Hopefully, more clubs will get involved, because that would really help out a lot,” Smith said. The PTSA also hopes that special trash cans can be made and spread around the school to help the cause. Those that think the trash is not much of a problem should take a look around. Cheryl Guyett, Dimond’s principal, has received numerous written letters and emails from parents in the community complaining about the trash at Dimond. One of the biggest problems of all is in the front doors of the school, where wind gusts circle the trash into the walkways and make it look extra bad. Derek Brewer, a history teacher at Dimond, however, says that the blame is not all on the students. “The wind really plays a big role in how the parking lot looks. The winds blow all the garbage that isn’t secured by people in the community right into our campus. I remember when I was coaching, I’d have the guys clean the stadium and the walls around the outside of garbage, and 20 minutes after we finished it looked like we hadn’t even began,” Brewer said. “I’m not saying that students don’t need to do a better job of getting rid of garbage, but the wind really is a huge factor in the amount of garbage around the school.” If there’s one message that Carrie Smith wants students to know, it’s this: “Have some pride, and don’t litter.”