Recycle! – Eco Action 1980-1988

Earth Day 1980

The first recorded Earth Day celebration hosted by Eco Action took place in 1980. A highlight must have been celebrating Shaver’s Creek’s 1st birthday.


1980 Eco-Cycle 

Bicycles were donated to Penn State students by the State College Bike Shop. This bike share program consisted of two blue and white single speed bikes. After the Nebraska weekend (one week after being put in service), one bike was slightly damaged and lost. Eco Action used their phone tree system to locate it: “Members called members, until someone reported seeing it in an apartment hallway.”

“This kind of idea can work.” – State College Bike Shop Owner


Recycling Takes Off 

Eco Action began recycling aluminum, colored and clear glass, paper, motor oil, and tin. Students and State College residents all discussed building a local recycling center.

“Please help us with this project. We can all lighten our steps on the Earth.”

“Once again, North Halls finished well ahead of all other dorm areas in papers turned in per student. West finished second for the the second week in a row, and East finished a strong, close third.” ~ Eco Action Newspaper Recycling Award

A 1988 Daily Collegian article explained that Eco Action’s recycling program was a low budget operation funded with the club profits. All excess profits were donated to the Nature Conservancy. Eco Action had one piece of machinery, a glass crusher. Working with OPP, the University’s Office of the Physical Plant, Eco Action was able to place recycling bins in Willard and the HUB.


Fall 1984 Bill Oliver Concert

Eco Action, the Graduate Student Association, and the Folklore Society held a concert in 112 Kern Building with Bill Oliver and Gary Norfolk.

“Though both artists provided both glorious moments and thin ones in that course of their sets, the only truly regrettable feature of the whole was the small size of the audience.” ~ Pat Grandjean, Collegian Arts Writer


Spring 1984 Water Conservancy Conference in Washington DC


Save the Gardens

Buckhout Gardens were torn down to make space for new biology labs. Eco Action worked hard to save the garden, but alas, the biology lab won.

“It’s the classic conflict between beauty and utility” ~Eugene Lindstrom


Against Reagan

“We’re against the Reagan administration more than Reagan himself” ~Darlene Snow

“Snow was encouraged by the fact that the only advertisement she has used — a message in Collegian notes — attracted nearly the entire membership of the club [40 members]” ~ Bruce L Cary, Collegian Staff Writer


The Nuclear FREEZE

The consequences of nuclear war would destroy the environment:

“Subfreezing temperatures, low light levels, and high doses of ionizing and ultraviolet radiation extending for many months after a large-scale nuclear water could destroy biological support systems of civilization.” ~ Summary from 1983 Science Article

Penn State provides many minds for the military Industrial Complex.

In State College, a large group of adults and children marched around 6 miles to raise money for the Nuclear Freeze Campaign.

“Every gun that is made, every warship launched, ever rocket fired signifies, in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children…This is not a way of life at all in any true sense. Under the cloud of water, it is humanity-hanging on the cross of iron” – Dwight Eisenhower

Also, the 3 Mile Island accident (1979)….


Student Peace Initiative


Climate Change Awareness 

“There are a number of individuals who now strongly believe [Climate Change] is happening and scientists generally tend to be very cautious people” ~ Eric Barron (associate professor of geoscience in 1988), Daily Collegian


Letter Writing Campaigns

  • Eco Action wrote to senators to increasing funding for national parks and wildlife areas
  • Eco Action wrote to representatives to stop a bill allowing drilling in the arctic
  • Eco Action wrote senators in support of the Endangered Species Act


State College Landfill Public Information Meeting


Letters to Eco Action


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