Throw it out for real: SA’s anti-littering campaign

In a school where lunch is more in halls than the caf, litter remains a problem


Carina Brendl and Elizabeth Byrne

A campaign video raising awareness of a prevalent, on-going discourtesy was released to students on Feb 6. It showed the excessive amounts of litter the student population produces every day.

The video, titled “Throw It Out For Real,” features guest rapper and Kinetic Wellness teacher, Andy Horne. His original lyrics encourage students to throw out their litter to the tune of a Flo Rida song. The video also features special guest appearances from New Trier’s faculty, including Superintendent Dr. Linda Yonke and Winnetka principal Denise Dubravec.

Student Alliance members initially approached Horne because of the health raps he’s performed before. He explained that he was aware of student litter in the cafeteria, but not in other places of the school, such as the library or the scrounge.

One reason he agreed to participate in the campaign was to decrease this littering. But he’s also “all for students having fun with things” and likes writing songs and raps.

Horne emphasized that the driving force behind the video was Student Alliance member Jacob Shaw, with the help of other Student Alliance members, directed, edited, produced and wrote the narration of the video.

“He’s the one who really has driven this project,” Horne said. “My role in it was just to help him out where I could, which was to write a song and show up to shoot the video. He put it all together.”

He added that Shaw had to jump through several hoops to get the video approved by the administration, and that it was his idea to advertise it with banners throughout the school.
Horne said that he’s experienced initial excitement from students and teachers who have mentioned the video to him, and he’s curious to see if it will make a difference in the long run.

A member of the PPS staff who wished to remain anonymous said that these kinds of campaigns usually help. Other past campaigns, he explained, include Adopt-A-Hallway and a month designated to raise litter awareness through putting up posters have tried to make a difference, but the quantity of litter has remained about the same throughout his eight years at New Trier.

“First of all, this video skyrocketed up way faster than we expected to,” Shaw said. “Secondly, we saw changes all over the school way faster than we expected to.”

Shaw recounts a time a few days after the video was released, where he and some friends were sitting at a lunch table in the cafeteria and he saw a student, who was originally going to leave his garbage on the floor for the custodians to take care of, pick it up, and throw it out after his friends told him to “Throw it out for real.”

Shaw expressed his excitement and hope for the campaign’s future: “It’s still in its early phases, we are trying to expand it to reach more people, but it’s doing really well for where it is right now.”