Pick Up Your Butts

Students take time to rid the university of cigarette butts.

Lola Salgado (left) organizer of the Cigarette Butt Clean Up event held at the US-U Plaza on March 27th, explaining what the event is and what she hopes it can accomplish for the school.

Monica Tamayo, Staff Writer

The Center for Student Involvement (CSI) hosted its second annual Cigarette Butt Cleanup on March 27 at the university.

Students and other attendees participated by picking up cigarette butts around the plaza and across various locations on campus including the Engineering, Computer Science and Technology Building.

After signing up at the CSI booth, attendees were provided paper bags and began searching for cigarette butts.

Tables filled with snacks and goodies were available for participants, which included: eco-friendly bamboo toothbrushes, reusable straws, notepads and reusable ziplock bags. Participants were also given a free acai bowl after volunteering.

According to the Lola, Salgado, the event organizer, the cigarette butts collected will then be shipped to TerraCycle, a recycling company where the cigarette butts will be separated into organic and inorganic materials and recycled into park benches or glasses.

The idea for the clean-up event began when CSI took students on trips with local nonprofits who helped pick up trash. Unfortunately, because of class schedule restrictions, attendance was low.

From there, CSI decided to create their own cigarette butt cleanup on campus. Since Cal State LA’s initiative to become a smoke-free campus back in fall 2017, there has been less littering around campus, but there are still places around the university grounds that have this issue.

“Before, there were a lot of cigarette butts in front of the Student Union, like where you can sit down. But now, since the campus is smoke-free, it’s like they’re still there. Across the street is where I find a lot more now”, said Salgado in reference to the crosswalk that leads to the Television, Film and Media Center.

During the first clean up, 5,676 cigarette butts were collected with the help of 40 volunteers. For its second clean up, Salgado hopes to find less litter since the campus has been smoke free for the last two years. By organizing this event, Salgado hopes that she has helped create awareness about littering on campus.

“When you walk around campus or anywhere, you don’t really notice the little things, but once you take some time out of your day to pick up trash and you’re like ‘oh my god there’s so many’, you’ll notice them for a long time.”