Final Project Assessment Blog

Story Highlights

  • Thinking of a Topic
  • Finding People with Reasons
  • Video Taping – Trial & Error
  • Conclusion

Hills over Pismo Beach

Hills over Pismo Beach

Thinking of a Topic
Trying to come up with a topic had always been hard for me, since day one. I was unsure as to how to approach a creative idea, or even how to get to it, in the first place. Coming up with a go Green blog topic took me beyond days and nights of brainstorming. I know Jour 285 would require me to think of only the best. For the final project, I decided I wanted to understand why people wanted to go green. Typically, going Green “just because” is not always the case. There has to be some underlying factor to it, whether it’d be as broad as economic, or specific as how people are raised. So, why do you go Green? was the real hitter for me.

Finding People with Reasons
Finding people to be in my project was almost hair-pullingly-stressful for me. I didn’t want two people repeating the same kind of thing, and I wanted some journalistic quality to it. I wanted people to have a story as to why they like to go Green, but I also didn’t mind find people telling me plaintively why they want to go Green. I was able to gather people together and do this one night.

Video Taping – Trial & Error
Handling the video camera was never my area of expertise. With the help of a tripod, I was able to achieve a more still frame that only caught movement from the subject of my video. People also tend to get nervous when they are being recorded, so there were definitely a lot of bloopers, to say the very least. I wouldn’t blame them, however. Who wouldn’t be able to focus or remember the things they have to say when you know you’re being recorded, second by second? After awhile, I was able to move on from subject to subject. Bloopers were, no doubt, pretty hilarious.

“My name is… Wait, I’m not supposed to say my name! Agh…” – Alvin Ma, Electrical Engineering, First Year. (Blooper #39293… no, joke. Maybe #10 or something.)

Sunset over SLO county

Sunset over SLO county

I have to say, working on this project was amusing for me and the people I had in my video. The process of brainstorming to creating the video montage of stills, videos, and audio required a lot of work and stress, but I am happy with the final project. I love how it ended up this way. Although it makes me feel a little cheesy looking back at the video, I feel a sense of pride in the work I was able to accomplished for this end of the year final project.

Sources can be found in Final Audio/Video/Still: Why do You Go Green?

Why do you go Green?

Cans and Cannot’s of Recycling

Story Highlights

  • The Cans of Recycling
  • The Cannot’s of Recycling
  • What it Means to us as Consumers
  • Dining Halls Need to Learn About Recycling

People often hesitate whether they should recycle something or not, and in the end, do not recycle it at all because they just don’t know. Hassle may be the biggest reason why people opt not to recycle, but lack of knowledge as to whether recycle something or not also comes into play.

“I don’t recycle because I don’t know where the recycling bins are at or what to recycle, even… I only know that cell phones, plastic, metal, paper can be recycled.” -Tiffany Thaoxaochay, Freshman, Marketing, PUNY

The Cans of Recycling

College students recycle a lot

The blue recycling bins inside each dorm room are extremely helpful in facilitating recycling in general at school. It makes it more convenient and easier for students to recycle - and there's a lot to recycle to when you're always getting drinks from the dining hall. However, the reusable water bottle alternative better of the situation.

Recycling reduces landfill space and are reusable. Items that are usually recyclable are paper bags, paper, aluminum cans, beer bottles, cardboard, and plastic containers or bottles. Clear glass containers and metal cans (canned soup, paint cans) are also just as recyclable. Phone books are an absolute must for recycling too as they are quite bulky and will have an impact as far as recycling goes.

Other innovative things that can be recycled or personally reused but you may not know of include aquariums, eyeglasses, blue jeans, clothes hangers, and more. Things like leftover fruits, twigs, leaves, and garden trimmings can be useful in making compost to help Earth’s soil.

The Cannot’s of Recycling
You do not want to be recycling the wrong items because it can lead to an even more disastrous outcome in the long run. Items that are not recyclable are often items that do not break down well or quickly in landfills. Items you should not be tossing into the blue bin includes plastic utensils, milk cartons, batteries, styrofoam packagings, and more. Not all plastics are recyclable either, including numbers 3 and 7, which you can recognize by looking at the number that is printed on the bottom of the container.

What it Means to us as Consumers

Plastic fruit cup from Metro's Dining Hall

Plastic fruit cup from Metro Station Dining Hall. Eat healthy and buy it in recyclable plastic, and it's a win-win situation!

Consumerism plays a big part in as to where our future goes as far as being environmentally-friendly goes. What we buy determines what keeps being in the market. If we want our future to be as Green as possible, the first steps we can take is to become a Greener consumer. Switching things up like buying water bottles that are reusable will cut down on how many plastic bottles are going to be made to sell to consumers (it takes more water to actually make a single plastic bottle than what the plastic bottle actually contains when it’s ready to be sold).

Picking paper bags over plastic bags, opting to only use recyclable alternatives to styrofoam containers, and purchasing only recyclable utensils and plates (or washable ones you can reuse) are things a consumer can do that will exponentially help the cause of going Green. The power of consumerism is powerful if people can learn of the impact they can make when deciding what to purchase.

Reselling reusable things by CRV rates after you bought something can also have a major impact on the environment.

“We do recycle all the time, but it is mainly because I’ve seen my parents do it ever since I was born. Whenever we go throw away things, we separate all the trash into recycling trash and regular trash. The main reason for our family’s recycling is to sell it and earn some money.” – Phillip Park, BHS

Dining Halls Need to Learn About Recycling

Try not to take to-go

Try not to take to-go boxes when eating at the dining halls because these boxes are non-recyclable. They are made of material that can't be easily broken-down. Trying eating in the hall instead, using the washable plates.

The boxes we use to carry our food back to our rooms from CP’s dining halls are non-recyclable. The material it is made wouldn’t be able to break down once it makes its way to the landfills. The plastic utensils that are used are also non-recyclable.

“Yes I think they should use recyclable to-go boxes for food because people throw away boxes after they eat, since it’s gonna be trash, it might as well be biodegradable trash. I think campus dining should stop using those plastic utensils, and switch to biodegradable utensils. The CC in my hometown uses recyclable utensils, and they look so much cuter, so another plus!” – Dinh Luu, Second Year, Business

In light of another perspective, there are other institutions that are more environmentally aware and active. For example, UC Merced aims to be a greener campus:

“Being a green campus nearly fully supported by solar and water energy, we’re required to recycle…like for real, we get in trouble if we don’t. Nearly all of our assignments are electronic, and all of the to-go containers and utensils at the dining commons are made from biodegradable vegetable pulp.” – Sarah Key, Freshman, Ecology/Evolutionary Biology, UCM

Sources (Not Quoted):
Ravi Sahai, 3rd Year, Mechanical Engineering

Red Brick Energy Competition

Story Highlights

  • The General on the Red Brick Energy Competition
  • How the Competition is Being Measured
  • What To Do
  • Who’s Winning

The General on the Red Brick Energy Competition

Unplugging Power Cords

Red Brick dormitory students are doing things like unplugging power cords when it's not in used to contribute to the Red Bricks Energy Competition.

The Red Brick Energy Competition was started by Green Campus a few years ago to get the red brick dormitories to change their habits through incentive. Each red brick dormitory competes against one another to become the Red Brick Energy Competition champion by being the dorm that uses the less electricity and water. The competition goes is held from January 28, 2011 to February 25, 2011. The dorm that wins the competition gets a pizza/ice cream party and other prizes. They also receive a plaque in recognition of their Green effort.

“The goal of all of this is to try and permanently change behaviors.” – Ravi Sahai, 3rd Year, Mechanical Engineering, RA

How the Competition is Being Measured
Every other day, water levels and electricity usage is recorded per building by the residential advisers of each red brick buildings. With proper conversion, CO2 emissions outputted by students can also be calculated from the usage of electricity and water. Graphs of each building’s weekly usage is then presented online so that freshman students would be able to see how their building is doing within the competition compared to other red brick dorms. So far, Numbers are calculated by CO2 emissions (lbs/day) from the water and electricity usage.

What To Do
Each building is promoting ways to go Green and win the competition.

Copyright zirconicusso

Showering takes up gallons of water. Doing things like "navy showering" will help conserve water. Photo Credits: Zirconicusso

RAs are asking their residents to try and conserve energy by turning off all power when not in use and showering in the dark or “navy showering,” where one would turn off the water when they are soaping. Trinity promotes its residents through the “Do it in the Dark” event.

“I turn off the light in the bathroom every time I see it on and when I leave. I also only charge my computer and phone when I need to, and I try to keep the lights off in my room during the day if I don’t need them. I definitely think that this will help me to continue to save energy after the competition because I am so use to doing these things now.” – Whitney Lockman, 1st Year, Liberal Arts

Who’s Winning
Muir is taking the lead as of February 21, 2011 with a CO2 emission of 2.28 , while Trinity is following closely with 2.86. Sequoia, Fremont, Tenaya, and Santa Lucia follows in corresponding order. For the last two years, Trinity have came out as the winning dormitory.

“Up until a few weeks ago I had disposable cups, plates, bowls, spoons, and stuff, but I went out and bought actual dishes now! I think Santa Lucia does what they can to help, but it’s not on the top of everyone’s minds. I think sometimes a lot of people forget there’s even a competition going on.” – Zara Khan, 1st Year, Biomedical Engineering

Freshman Student’s Guide to Going Green in SLO

Here are some places in SLO that support going green, and freshman students would be able to benefit best from this because of the common lack of their own transportation. When they visit these places, just know they’re supporting the green cause whether as a consumer or visitor. From natural foods to organic cotton products/fabric, there are many places throughout SLO that are aware and embracing of the environment. When people support other people that are going Green, they are also, therefore, going Green too!

To go Hybrid or not to go Hybrid?

Story Highlights:

  • What are hybrid cars?
  • Why drive hybrid?
  • Why not drive hybrids?
  • Different types of Hybrids and facts
  • Best choice in the end

What are hybrid cars?
Hybrid cars, usually referred to just as “hybrids”, are essentially a vehicle that is operate-able on two or more energy sources. There are mainly two types of

Photo Credits: Matt Howard

A plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) diagram shows that it can use an electric outlet to recharge the battery for the car to run on electrically. Photo Credits: Matt Howard (2009)

hybrids. The first type is a mild hybrid car, which primarily drives on fuel or gas engine, and uses the electric power battery secondarily. The second type is a full hybrid car, also known as a two-mode hybrids, which primarily runs on electric power and secondarily uses gas engine power. Electric power is usually powered by regenerative braking, which recharge the NiMH battery whenever the car slows down, which is usually by braking or coasting. Energy is captured and restored when the energy is running backwards. PHEVs, which stands for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, are vehicles that use electrical outlets as it’s base to recharge the battery in a hybrid.

Why drive hybrids?
Hybrids are definitely the greener choice when you compare it to the average sedan. When you drive a hybrid, you not only make less stops to the gas station, but your car would produce less nitrogen oxide, hydrocarbons, and particulate matter. Particulate matter, which is basically a mixture of soot and dust that floats within our air, pose a threat to human’s respiratory systems.

“I bought it [a hybrid] because it’s fuel-efficient, which saves me a lot of cash in the long-run and, of course there is always the idea that I’m saving the world, one Prius at a time.” – Diksha Punia, Psychology, Freshman UCI

Why not drive hybrids?
Hybrids are not commonly seen driven on the streets because of it’s expensiveness. People just don’t have the money to fork over now for a less-than-spacious vehicle, even though the outlook for the future might be brighter economically. Maintaining a hybrid can also be hard because there are not that many mechanics that have intensive knowledge on how to fix a hybrid if it broke down. People also should also not look at it for positive economic reasons only, because you would only really “save” money when you’ve owned that hybrid for about five to twenty years, depending on fuel prices.

“Hybrid cars should be better in the future, so I’m waiting for the technology to get even more advanced and the price to fall lower.” – April Stearns

Different Hybrid Cars

Photo Credits: Thomas Doerfer

The Toyota Prius III, of the popular series Toyata Priuses. Photo Credits: Thomas Doerfer (April 2009)

One of the more popular hybrids would probably be the Toyota Prius. Hybrids arriving this year are BMW ActiveHybrid 7, Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Malibu, Honda CR-Z, and more. Some other previous vehicles that are known to be energy-efficient are the Lexus LS Hybrid, GS Hybrid, Chevy Hybrid, and GMC Yukon Hybrid.

Best choice in the end
Many people might be thinking that the most green choice in the end would be hybrids over conventional cars. However, bus transportation would have to be the best of both ends. It might not save as much fuel as hybrids, but it can transport a lot more people and will save them much more money than if they were to drive their own cars.

“I ride the bus going back and forth from home and school. Parking permits are too expensive anyway, so ride the bus!” – Don Samson, Automation and Instrumentation, Year 3, BCS

Organic, Local, or Conventional?

Story Highlights

  • Environmental Impact of Organic Produce
  • Environmental Impact of Local Produce
  • Environmental Impact of Conventional Produce
  • Type of People I Talked To
  • Setting Up Audio: Ups and Downs

Environmental Impact of Organic Produce

Known Organic USDA label, Credit: Tim Psych (2008)

USDA organically-known label. Photo Credits: Tim Psych (2008)

Organic produce are very well-known with it’s USDA-approved label for not being chemically fertilized. Therefore, it’s known to be the healthier choice; although, when quality goes up, more than likely, so does the price. The price is what usually throws a few people off, making them think, “Why should I pay this much for this organic apple when I can get it cheaper at the supermarket?” However, there are also news showing that organic food may be grown at the same plant or under similar conditions as conventional, and there are just less pesticides used on it.

Environmental Impact of Local Produce
Local produce generally mean locally-grown produce. Locally grown produce in SLO can be found at Farmer’s Market in downtown SLO on Thursday nights. They tend to be a bit pricey depending where the produce is grown and because it is not being sold much elsewhere either. They might use a little transportation, but not as much as conventional produce does. Generally, locally grown produce do not use as much transmission or chemicals as conventional, but it may vary from farmer to farmer.

“I prefer local produce because it is eco-friendly… as well as I like to support the farmer’s at Farmer’s Market.” — Elizabeth Chandy.

Baby Vegetables at Vons, Credits: Tobin, 2007

Baby Vegetables sold at Vons. Photo Credits: Tobin (2007)

Environmental Impact of Conventional Produce
Conventional produce are usually what people see when they go supermarket shopping at their local Save Mart or Vons. The thing is, it isn’t local just because these supermarkets are in the area. In fact, most of these produce are imported from other places all around the world. What does that mean? More transportation use = more gasoline use. Because these produce come in abundance and are commercially packaged, they are often sprayed with pesticides and treated with chemically-made fertilizer to sustain.

Type of People I Talked To
The type of people I was able to talk to for the audio assignment were people that are opinionated in what goes on their plate. Sakshi Joshi has been a vegetarian since birth and environmentally aware of her surroundings. Maryam Nasim and Sameen Sultan have to much more aware of what they eat because of religious reasons as well as health reasons, and Elizabeth Chandy likes supporting Farmer’s Market. They each have reasons why they choose organic, local, or conventional produce.

Setting Up Audio: Ups and Downs
There were many more downs than ups as far as my first audio assignment goes. There were just far too many things the human ear cannot hear that the audio recorder catches, like magic! There were many background noises that I could hear when I replay the recorder, and I needed to repeatedly ask the person to talk again. Sometimes, it was easier for the person to really think about what they said or have it in front of them so they can speak it out loud without stuttering or messing up. All in all, it was quite an ear-catching experience!

The Audio

Sameen Sultan, Freshman, Business
Maryam Nasim, Junior, Business
Elizabeth Chandy, Sophomore, Materials Engineering
Sakshi Joshi, Freshman (Gannon), Biomed
Jacqueline Lui, Freshman, Graphic Design

Why People Don’t Recycle

Story Highlights

  • Laziness
  • No Personal Incentive
  • Inconvenience
  • What’s the point?


Laziness plays a huge factor as to why people don’t recycle. Whether people want to admit it or not, the fact that they would rather throw everything away in the same bin rather than organize it in the beginning is outright laziness. There are bins all over campus and even in separate rooms on campus that provide separately labeled bins designed to help organization of litter. Laziness, out of all honesty, is nothing short of ignorance.

“People dont recycle because it takes too long sometimes. They’re lazy, and sometimes the bins are nowhere to be found, depending where you’re at. Or they just dont care,” Tiffany Nguyen said.

No Personal Incentive

Plastic bottles like this Dasani water bottle have recycling labels to remind people to recycle. Buyback centers also buy back these kind of bottles with the CRV pricing.

In many circumstances, people always something in return when they do something good. Recycling is one of the bigger circumstances. There are people that do recycle because they want to help sustain the environment, but there are others that do not see that reason as a legit one. The truth is, recycling isn’t some overnight process in which trees all of a sudden sprout outside your window the next morning you wake up. It’s to help sustain Earth, not create a better one.

People who doesn’t see that they personally gain anything out of recycling usually do not take the initiative to organize their cans, bottles, and paper. However, many people don’t know that there are buyback centers that will pay CRV for aluminum cans, glass and some plastic bottles. In fact, there is one conveniently located in San Luis Obispo, located behind Albertsons at Foothill.

It might not seem much in the beginning, it really adds up, especially when you have a ton of bottles and cans you’ve saved up. Not only are you gaining extra cash to spend, you’re recycling!


People who know where buyback centers are do not have the excuse of having no personal incentive as the reason why they don’t recycle. Instead, inconvenience comes into play. Students at SLO who have limited ways to get to the buyback center at Albertsons to recycle feel like the location or distance is what stopping them from wanting to recycle for personal incentive. People who do have ways to get to buyback centers do not bother because of gas (personal incentive balanced out) or laziness. It’s the type of cycle that people should not be doing – people should be recycling all sorts of things, not go back and forth between excuses at to why NOT to recycle.

What’s the point?

People who don’t recycle often likes to ask, “What’s the point?” The fact is, all the reasons above as to why people shouldn’t recycle should not be the case at anytime. The clock is ticking and there is no way to turn back time when you’re living in the now.

“I think they’re lazy and they don’t really understand the affects it has on society as a whole!” – Stephanie Ma

Recycling student

Jacqueline Lui, freshman majoring in graphic design, recycles because there are available blue recycling bins in each room to help organize the way students throw away their trash.

Recycling is a long process, one that requires a lot of patience that many people lack in this fast-paced world. Recycling may seem pointless to people now, but what about the future generations?Will there even be a future generation? The answer to that essentially lies in every person living now. Ultimately, that is the question people should be asking themselves rather than, “What’s the point?”

Tiffany Nguyen, FCC Freshman
Jacqueline Lui, Freshman Graphic Design
Stephanie Ma
Grandma Ida (Environmentalist)

The Little Things That Matter

Vodpod videos no longer available.

The Little Things That Matter, posted with vodpod


What’s the “greenest” thing you do?


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