With the school year wrapping up, many students are wondering what clubs they may have missed out. Well, look no further than the Green and Clean Club, wrapping up its second year at Highland! An environmental club, they love nothing more than making sure the campus is spotless. They can be found on the first Wednesday of every month picking up litter in an activity they call ‘Campus Cleanup’, and they accept (& welcome!) all the help they can get. In the past, many members of the Basketball team, Red Cross, and even ASB have joined in on Campus Cleanup.
Recently our reporters joined in on Campus Cleanup to get a better perspective on what the club was like. They picked up trash (shocker) and got insight into what attracts people to the Green and Clean Club. The club members all had a shared hatred for garbage and were frustrated that before the club, there was little they could do to make the campus cleaner.
And although the club has been making a good dent out of the trash on campus, there are some areas that need some serious sanitation. The club doesn’t have the resources to clean up old stains and spills, and club member Dory even went as far as saying, “This would need to be power-hosed down!” while the club worked around the cafeteria.
Hot spots for trash included the grass below the ramp to the WAH, the dirt bus loading area, and the hallways. The amount of litter may seem overwhelming at first, especially when taking in the size of the club, but the members are not deterred. Club members were able to both socialize and help make the campus cleaner as they traveled about. This club holds its meetings right after school which is perfect timing to pick up and clean the campus – there is no worry of getting in the way of other students.
After the Campus Clean Up, our interviewers and the club members made their way back to classroom 16D for some delicious pizza that the club and club advisor chipped in for. The Club President thanked everyone for coming. It was a very wholesome event, and all of the club members were welcoming and inviting. Speaking of the president, they are a sophomore by the name of Addison Gartenlaub, and they started it their freshman year! It takes a great effort to start a club at Highland (just ask our president), so our staff decided to interview Addison to see what motivated them to create the Green and Clean Club.
INTERVIEW W/ ADDISON GARTUENLAUB, PRESIDENT
- Hi! Could you please start off by introducing yourself and the club?
Hi! My name is Addison Gartenlaub and this is the Green and Clean Club!
- Why did you start this club?
When I was an incoming freshman, I was really excited to join Highland’s environmental club but all of the people who started that club had graduated so the club no longer existed and I was so bummed about it and my dad was just like, “Why don’t you start your own?” and I said, “Yeah that’s a real good point” and I don’t mind public speaking, so I was like yeah, sure!
- Did you already know the administration and going through that whole process?
No! The club was and still is a learning experience, step by step! But definitely, when starting up there were just so many different things I didn’t know. When you move from middle school to high school I feel like a lot more things become a lot more paperwork. Last year, we did a fundraiser to try to put money in and there was a lot of paperwork for that.
- Do you have any club funds?
We have a little! We have from the food sale last year we sold boba – It was definitely an experience. I would not say I want to do it again only because my dad and I stayed up until 3 in the morning brewing tea. We went across town because there’s like only one Asian market and we didn’t want to buy the Costco ones, so we went across town and it took a long time. They had the flowers of the tea and they had to dry – we had like 6 pots of just brewing tea. And we had to drain it and we had to squeeze it and put it in again – it was an experience!
- What kind of impact do you hope to have?
I hope to inspire students to maybe view the environment in a different way. Maybe see the importance of conserving and doing alternative ways to conserve the environment. Teaching people ways they can – and showing that so many things that are normalized in our society are actually so, so, so bad for the environment. Big corporations are so normalized and people don’t really see the effect it’s having and the importance of stopping that and learn about it. Because, we are the next generation, you know?
- Where do you see this club heading in the future?
It’s still so hard doing events coming out of COVID – so many things have shut down, especially in town. Next year I definitely hope to see the club expanding and doing more, doing more community events. More people joining! Resonating and manifesting that these incoming freshmen want to join! [this was fitting because the interview was the day before Scots Preview Night] Just expanding, doing, and learning more!
- What has been the most difficult part of running this club?
Probably just reaching out to people. When people see “campus clean up” their first thought isn’t, “Oohh!! Yes! Let’s go pick up trash!” I mean, definitely for some, but for a lot of kids, it’s not! So advertisement and reaching out to people – and them actually wanting to come! Right, you gotta bribe ’em with pizza! It works!
- On the flip side, what is the most rewarding part of running this club?
Seeing new faces every meeting come, and seeing them stay. Then having them come up to me later and be like you totally enlightened something I didn’t think about before, or I’m totally going to do this differently — and resonating with fellow students – having them say, “No, I totally see what you’re seeing!
INTERVIEWER: So them taking a part of the club with them and applying it in their daily life, very cool!
- How has environmentalism impacted your life?
I feel that environmentalism has always been a huge part of my goals and my life. Ever since I was a little kid I loved camping and I loved the environment. So, growing up and “bubbles bursting” so to speak, seeing how fundamental it is to help the environment and seeing how awful it’s been treated, totally sparked something in young me that wanted to make a difference and wants to make a change.
- Could you tell us about your past partnerships with ASB and Red Cross?
Yeah! Mr. Mamaraldo, our advisor, always tries to reach out to other clubs and even teachers to come out on community service days – like community garden or campus clean-up days – we’ve had the soccer team and basketball team come out to campus clean-up. It’s always great to see that outside support. Apple Core Project is another organization we partner with – I know the President of this organization – it’s always lovely to help her and her garden so this is a very important connection for us as well. They do ‘feeding the homeless’ days – definitely check out their Instagram. They are a big supporter of the club. [Green and Clean regularly goes out to help them as a club, too! They share all upcoming events at their meetings and on IG @ green.clean.club.hhs]
- It seems like your advisor is really involved too, which is really important!
Yeah! Mr. Mamaraldo has definitely been super supportive of the club and what we’re trying to do. He’s there at every campus clean-up, every garden day, and so it’s amazing to have his support.
- And how did you find an advisor as a freshman?
Yeah so Mr. Mam’ was actually my math teacher and so we just kind of clicked because we both had an interest in the environment. Yeah, he has an amazing story. He used to be in the Navy but he suddenly thought, “I’m not really doing anything to help the planet” He wanted to do something more that could reach out to people, so he became a teacher. He’s an amazing person! It was fate, it was destiny!
- What is one step everyone can take to make this world a better place?
Not to be cheesy, but to quote Michael Jackson, “Take a step back and look in the mirror!” You know? Making a change definitely starts with yourself and taking that extra step to learn and educate yourself – not only about the environment, but other things going on in the world. I would say one thing to start making that change is to make it themselves.
- That’s so powerful Thank you so much, Adi!
& with that, Happy Earth Day 4/22!
If you are interested, Clean and Green Club’s doors are always open to new and old members every Wednesday in room 16D (the new math portables behind the basketball courts). Earth Day is this Saturday, so be sure to come out this Wednesday to see what Clean and Green has in store! You can keep up with what new events they’re doing on Instagram ~
Thank you Clean and Green for all you do to make our planet a little shinier, and with Earth Day coming this weekend, we want to know — what will you be doing to show appreciation for our planet this Saturday?