Mangilao ,Guam—Since its inception as a student organization in 2010, the University of Guam Green Army has worked to promote environmental awareness and encourage sustainable lifestyles on campus and in the community.
Guam’s current population of 162,896 inhabitants collectively generates about 96,000 tons of waste per year. The impact of such a large amount of waste on a small island raises concerns for the overall health of the environment. To combat this, UOG Green Army focuses their efforts to encourage sustainable living right on campus.
Peggy Denney, the current program administrator of iRecycle, an organization that raises money through recycling to benefit schools, founded the UOG Green Army.
At its formation, students had the opportunity to help clean up Guam by volunteering with UOG Green Army to recycle during community events such as festivals and concerts.
“[We] went through a period of inactivity for a few years,” said Christina Oh, a senior psychology major and vice president of UOG Green Army. “It was restarted in 2015 by students who care for the environment and has been going strong since then.”
Since the revitalization of this student organization, UOG Green Army has worked on countless events all to promote sustainability on island. The organization recently collaborated with the Center for Island Sustainability and has bred a growing garden behind House 32 located in the Dean’s Circle.
“We usually transplant, plant, weed and mow the grass to maintain the garden,” said Erica Fastidio, a senior business administration major concentrating in accounting and finance and president of Green Army.
While the members may work hard to garden and manage recycling efforts on campus, they also work to promote and educate the community about environmental practices.
UOG Green Army members and their advisor, Phillip Cruz, the sustainability coordinator for CIS, participated in the 2017 Environmental Law and Science Conference held on Nov 17.
The week-long conference created in partnership with the University of Hawaii and the University of Guam featured panel discussions on environmental issues.
Fastidio explained that the conference invited members of the Pacific Judicial Council and prominent members of Guam’s law and scientific community to discuss the courts’ legal decisions on environmental science.
Engaging in a sustainable lifestyle does not require a membership with UOG Green Army, as their mission states all students and members of the community can do small things to help our environment.
As Fastidio said, these small habits can accumulate and make a significant difference for the environment.
“Students can reduce their waste by bringing their water bottles instead of constantly buying bottled water,” Fastidio said. “They can also recycle and dispose of their trash accordingly. They can turn off lights in an empty room.”
Camille Santiago, a senior accounting major and public relations officer of UOG Green Army shared that her experience with the student organization has given her the chance to try something fun while also improving herself as an individual.
“As a member, I have been educated more and more about the importance of recycling and sustaining the environment,” Santiago said, “Despite working under the sun, I feel good as a person contributing to the community.”
Fastidio relates that her experience as president of UOG Green Army has been rewarding. Overcoming the challenge of working to rebuild the student organization and educating the campus and community about environmental awareness has been especially gratifying.
If you are interested in joining UOG Green Army or would like more information, contact Erica Fastidio at firstname.lastname@example.org