Interns check in with their Team Members, Oakland Tech Custodial Staff!

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*Student Blog*

During one of our meetings, we decided to have a quick meeting with the custodial staff. We started out just planning the basics of what we were going to do: We had to make sure to thank them for taking the time to speak with us, as they have very busy days and a lot of work to be done. We wanted to tell them who we were and what we stood for, and then talk through some things with them. There had been rumors that custodians weren’t, in fact, keeping the three bins of compost, recycling, and landfill, separated, and instead of compiling them into landfill. Teachers were irritated, and a few mentioned they wouldn’t want to participate in the three bin system if it was all going to the same place anyway. We wanted to alert the custodians of those allegations, and let them know what was being said. We came together to make a plan to help some of the recently hired custodial staff members to learn the system and to spread some overall awareness of our system.

We also all brainstormed a few things we could do to encourage people to sort their trash and to make it simpler. We wanted to install a whole, separate bin for pizza boxes, as those are a common item that is thrown away but is often mis-sorted. It also takes up a lot of space and fills up containers very quickly, so it would be more efficient to have a whole other container to better hold these items. One of the custodians also had the idea to ask some of the kids in the Fashion Arts and Design Academy or kids in art classes to help make posters or just decorate the cans to encourage people to throw things away in the right area. We also had an idea to put flyers on the desks of teachers who only have one bin to let them know how they can get more bins, or how to help their classroom implement the three bin system. We also wanted to simply make sure all the teachers knew what the three bin system was and how it worked and that it was a thing we do at Tech, as we have a bunch of new teachers this year who might not know about our system. We came up with some pretty good ideas overall.

The whole meeting was a little bit nerve-wracking overall, but exhilarating at the same time. At my old schools, when we wanted to “make a change” it would be through poorly made posters on computer paper that were ignored at best and often torn and mangled. This was the first time, pretty much, I’d ever actually talked to the administration about a program or idea that I/we had. It was really exciting and it felt good to be actually doing something. I think we presented to the custodians pretty well, although I felt we could have been more energetic with our presentation, and less monotone and reading-from-a-script like. We want it to feel more like a conversation than us talking at them. However, I think a lot of us were nervous, and we’ll get better as we continue practicing presenting, and get to know the custodians a little more. The whole meeting was a really good chance to let people know what we were doing and who we were. It also was really interesting to get to know some of the custodians more and see what it’s like to work as a custodian at a high school.

Meetings like this are really important because we as kids and we as the future need to know how to talk to people about what we’re passionate about in order to really bring forth a change for the better. I think the meeting was an amazing opportunity for us to get introduced to the process of altering something like this.

Written By: Ruby, Freshman OT Intern 

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