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Zero Waste Ambassadors

In 2017, Cal Poly inaugurated the Zero Waste Ambassadors (ZWA) program, a student-led program with the goal of educating the campus community about sustainable waste disposal. The program is centered around campus events, where volunteers help instruct attendees of how to properly dispose of their waste. The program successfully manages the consumer waste stream at select Cal Poly events to divert nearly 90% of waste from landfill through collaboration, education, outreach, and community service.

During the 2018-2019 school year, ZWA attended 39 campus events with a total of 25,000 attendees, nearly double that of the year before. With the help of volunteers, the program diverted 7,350 pounds of recyclables and compostables from the landfill. 125 volunteers joined forces with ZWA to serve a total of 305 hours.

The role of Zero Waste Ambassadors has expanded over the years. While being primarily volunteer-supported in the past, as of 2020 the Zero Waste Ambassadors team consists of 7 dedicated team members who manage zero waste events and develop new projects. Currently, the team is working on the following projects:

  • Growing the Zero Waste Ambassadors’ social media presence and outreach capability
  • Creating instructional materials and short videos to disseminate information on recycling, composting, and zero waste to a larger audience
  • Collaborating with Green Campus to put on educational events
  • Developing a Zero Waste Plan for campus with ideas of how to improve campus diversion rates

Volunteers remain essential in the success of the program. ZWA welcomes volunteers from anywhere, including student clubs, Greek life, and students who have been assigned community service hours through Cal Poly’s Office of Students Rights and Responsibilities (OSRR). To volunteer as a Zero Waste Ambassador, contact cpzerowaste@calpoly.edu or complete this interest form.


Meet the 2020/21 ZWA team

Anastasia Nicole, Zero Waste Program Coordinator

Amanda Smith (Team Leader) Communication Studies '22

Lois Good, Music and Anthropology/Geography '22

Sruthi Panyam, Business '22'

T.J. Samojedny, Landscape Architecture '23

Luka Uchiyama, Electrical Engineering '22

Zachary Tescher

Erica Beckwith, Liberal Studies '22