Environmental group formed

By Stephan L. Lopes

Concerned NIU students have started a local group to analyze NIU’s impact on the environment and create awareness by participating in Earth Day 1990.

The local group, which has yet to be named, is affiliated with the Student Environmental Action Coalition, a national organization. Members will attempt to educate people on the ways people harm the environment.

Being affiliated with a national organization “lends legitimacy to all you do,” said Michael Baltasi, one of the group’s organizers.

Baltasi said the group wanted to be connected with a national group for credibility, while still formulating their own agenda for the NIU community. Because of the group’s loose affiliation with the national organization, they will decide on a name that better represents the local group’s goals.

One of the major projects the group is planning is an environmental audit of the university. The group hopes to find better ways in which NIU could dispose of hazardous, solid, radioactive and medical wastes, Baltasi said.

During the audit, group members will go to each campus building that produces waste and decide if disposal procedures are environmentally sound, Baltasi said. If problems are found, the group will work with the administrators to find a viable alternative, he said.

The group also will be checking the air quality in campus buildings and in DeKalb, Baltasi said. Everyone must put up with a “little inconvenience” to save our environment, he said.

Baltasi and co-organizer Chris Schlake got the idea for starting the group while at Earth Day 1989. Denis Hayes, a former student of Stanford University, Stanford, Calif., conceived Earth Day in 1970. Hayes is currently an SU faculty

member who teaches environmental courses.

Being the 20th anniversary of Earth Day, Baltasi said he wants to plan something special for the event at NIU.