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Students Lead Campus’s Effort to Break Free From Plastic

Cerritos College becomes the first community college in California to adopt a plastic-free policy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 2, 2021

Media Contact:Miya Walker; Public Affairs

NORWALK, Calif. - December 2, 2021 – The Cerritos College Board of Trustees adopted a Break Free From Plastic resolution, making the campus the first community college in California to adopt a policy to abandon the use of plastic products. More than 70 percent of the world’s plastic ends up in landfills, incinerators, or drifting in waterways. By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish by weight in the world’s oceans, according to projections. 

The Cerritos College Geography Club laid a strong foundation to help end the use of plastic products on campus. In 2018, former Club president Salvador Uribe and his successor Raul Leon, in 2019, helped lead student efforts to raise awareness about plastic’s negative impact to the environment. Current Club leaders Gisselle Delgadillo and Hector Ledesma brought the final resolution to the Board at its November 17 meeting. Ryan Goode, the Club’s advisor, provided critical support to the students and their campaign.

“What motivated me was the lack of awareness of the effects petroleum has on the environment and everyone around. I hope to bring further awareness to this issue on campus,” said Gisselle. 

“I want to make a positive change in the community. The campaign was the perfect opportunity for me to take action and show others that even if the odds are stacked against us, change can and will be made,” said Hector.

Cerritos College is the first California community college to join 18 campuses across the country to commit to Post-Landfill Action Network’s Break Free From Plastic pledge, which calls on campuses to: 

1. Establish a purchasing policy that eliminates campus and food vendor procurement of all non-essential, non-compostable, single-use disposable plastics. The goal is to keep accessibility and affordability at the forefront of decision-making to ensure that accommodations are made for all users of the system

2. Commit to monitoring plastic-free alternatives in future procurement decisions and policies regarding items that cannot currently be eliminated due to a lack of viable alternatives

3. Invest in education, resources, and infrastructure to assist in the Plastic-Free Campus transition

Cerritos College will create an action plan to implement the new policy.

“We are incredibly proud of our student leaders who sponsored and drove this initiative. This is a great example of how education, passions, and community impact can intersect in powerful ways. As a result, the District is developing increasingly environmentally-friendly practices, and we pledge to make Cerritos College a leader in sustainability,” said James Cody Birkey, president of the Cerritos College Board of Trustees. “When it comes to sustainability, we really should be putting student voices first – they have the most at stake. The Break Free From Plastic campaign aligns with our Green Cerritos campus initiative and reinforces the College’s dedication to creating a sustainable campus environment through conscious decision-making strategies. We are beyond the talk, it's time for action.” 

Visit the web for more information about the College’s Green Cerritos Campus Sustainability Initiatives.

About Cerritos College: Cerritos College serves as a comprehensive community college for southeastern Los Angeles County. Communities within the college’s district include Artesia, Bellflower, Cerritos, Downey, Hawaiian Gardens, La Mirada, Norwalk, and portions of Bell Gardens, Lakewood, Long Beach, Santa Fe Springs and South Gate. Cerritos College offers nearly 300 degrees and certificates in nine divisions. Annually, more than 1,200 students successfully complete their course of studies, and enrollment currently averages 21,000 students. Visit Cerritos College online at www.cerritos.edu

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