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Three students stand outside. One student holds up a filled garbage bag.

Members of the Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry's Student Environmental Group picked up garbage on and around Bannatyne campus grounds earlier this month.

Dentistry, dental hygiene students help cleanup campus

October 28, 2021 — 

The Bannatyne campus is looking spick-and-span thanks to students from the Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry and the School of Dental Hygiene.

Fifteen members of the college’s Student Environmental Group and volunteers picked up about four garbage bags worth of trash earlier this month that was laying on and around campus grounds.

Three students outside on Bannatyne campus. One student holds up filled garbage bag, two students hold up tongs. “It was the first time the dental college has done something like this,” said Aarushi Dhawan, a fourth-year dental student and a member of the Student Environmental Group. “It was a success.”

Dr. John Perry, associate dean (academic), Dr. Gerald Niznick College of Dentistry, joined the students for the campus cleanup.

“The initiative is an indication of the students’ appreciation of being part of the neighbourhood and wanting to give back to the community,” Perry said. “It was a privilege to help the Student Environmental Group in performing the cleanup by providing the materials to safely conduct the activity. Kudos to them for organizing a successful event.”

The Student Environment Group, comprising dentistry and dental hygiene students, was created in 2020 to look at ways to decrease the amount of waste in the college.

Aarushi Dhawan and JR Salinas stand next to a glove recycling box. Aarushi holds a glove in her left hand.

Aarushi Dhawan and JR Salinas stand next to one of the glove recycling boxes.

“In dentistry there is a lot of one-time use material,” said JR Salinas, a fourth-year dental student and member of the Student Environmental Group. “It would be great to recycle and reuse some of the things we use in the college to lessen the carbon footprint that dentistry has.”

Since the group was established, the green-minded students created a glove recycling program. They have glove recycling bins located in the pre-clinic and senior labs.

The group is looking into setting up a recycling program for masks and want to use reusable bib chains that can be disinfected. They also want to bring composting to the college.

“I think as future health-care providers we do have an obligation to better the community and environment around us,” Dhawan said. “We are doing that by treating patients, but I think it can extend beyond that and extend to making more environmentally conscious choices, both as a college, and in our personal lives. I’m hoping the Student Environmental Group can promote awareness about what it means to be environmentally conscious.”

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