Fake Patty’s Day isn’t all fun and games. It may be a big party, but a few K-State students worked to make sure the event was a bit more eco-friendly.
The KSU student group, Student Environmental Action, worked Fake Patty’s Day to provide an outlet for recycling the thousands of bottles and cans of alcohol being consumed. The group placed around 50 bins in various bars while maintaining a central gathering location in Aggieville for all of the recyclables.
Of course, this activity meant people gave up their Saturday plans to help out with the process. A total of 16 K-State students worked throughout the day.
Some such as SEA secretary James Coover expected to work most of the day from 7:30 a.m. until after the bars close. The senior said he’s done Fake Patty’s Day before, but he wanted to improve the event’s sustainability this year.
“It wasn’t really about going out to the bars,” Coover said. “It wasn’t about weighing the options to me.”
SEA didn’t have a collection goal since it was the first time the group collected during Fake Patty’s Day. Coover said it was more about beginning the process. “I hope to do this in the future,” he said. “Just have to see how everybody responds to it.”
Coover indicated things had been going well with the bar owners. However, this wasn’t always the case, according to another member. Kayla Mohnsen, freshman, said a lot of bars initially said no before coming around to the idea. “We’re thankful for their participation,” she said.
The volunteers wore their vest to identify themselves as they emptied the recycling bins into the bigger boxes. They placed them back inside after washing them out.
Lauren Garrett, junior, said she planned to work for about five to six hours but would be available as long as the group needed her. “This is a better way to spend my day, not that there’s anything wrong with what they’re doing,” she said about the partygoers. “This is more rewarding for me.”
Garrett admits she probably would’ve been at home if not volunteering, although she does go out. She said she enjoyed the people-watching opportunities while trying to increase recycling. “It’s about education,” she said. “People don’t take advantage when they have the opportunity to recycle.”
Mohnsen, who also stayed most of the day, said recycling is really important to her. She proved it by digging bottles out of the dumpster, an activity most people would consider the opposite of fun on Fake Patty’s Day.
“I’ve had a lot of people yell at me,” Mohnsen said. Both men and women would say things such as “Yeah, girl,” “Get that can” and other more derogatory messages.
One person who appreciated the students’ efforts was Ruth Douglas-Miller, an engineering professor at K-State. Douglas-Miller, who isn’t involved with the group as an advisor, came to help after hearing about the opportunity.
“When the students said we’ll be recycling, I said at least I can be here doing something worthwhile instead of hiding out until it’s over,” she said. “That’s what most of us townies do.”
Douglas-Miller called them an impressive group. “It’s quite refreshing that not everyone has to be on the other side of the street,” she said.