A brand new student association called Wave of Change is dedicated to creating an environmentally-minded BYU-Hawaii. Mikaela Lawless, president of the club, said, “I’m fighting for awareness, plastic-free coastlines, and defenseless animals.
"Our goal is to make BYU-Hawaii a leader of eco-friendly college campuses.”
According to surfrider.org, there is an estimated 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean. After plastic enters the marine environment, it slowly degrades into smaller pieces that can have a detrimental effect on the ocean and its marine life, often leading to the deaths of turtles, fish, and even dolphins.
“We are commanded by God to be good stewards of the earth,” said Lawless, a junior majoring in business marketing from California. “As stewards, we have to be aware of the damages of using plastic or Styrofoam and their effect on our beaches, oceans, and marine life. By reducing our use of plastic and Styrofoam and recycling them, we can beautify and protect the earth as we are commanded.”
Rachel Jenson, a sophomore in TESOL from Utah and secretary of the club, said, "As students we know recycling is a good thing, but we don't really understand why. As a club, we hope to increase the student body’s understanding of the benefits of recycling and the consequences of not recycling.
“For example, at school events all they use is Styrofoam plates, and after students use them they don't think about recycling them – they just end up in the trash to be waste in a landfill."
The club has a year-by-year plan to promote a greener community. Lawless said, “Our vison is to spend the first year focusing on our campus. We intend to make our campus eco-friendlier by putting out recycling bins by every trash can, promoting awareness on what to recycle, and make recycling more esthetically appealing and easy.
“By year two of our ‘wave of change,’ we hope to branch out and focus on our local community by cleaning up our beaches and simplifying recycling.”
Scott and Ann Springer, professors in the Business Management Department from California and advisors to the club, said, “We are always encouraging students to be leaders. We try to inspire them to take the things they learn in the classroom and to use that knowledge to improve their environment. When Mikaela told us about her desire to try to improve our local environment, we were thrilled to support her in this new organization.
“Mikaela was one of the first students we interacted with on campus when we moved here. We were immediately impressed by her outgoing and helpful nature. She was working as a volunteer for Rice Love, a non-profit organization, and she radiated enthusiasm for life.”
Lawless said, “As a BYU-Hawaii student, our motto is ‘Enter to learn and go forth to serve.’ In Wave of Change, we will better ourselves through bettering our community, and one day we will go forth to every corner of the earth to serve communities around the world.”