The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.

Scot Scoop News

Journalism unaware newspapers were used for environmental campaign

Journalism students were caught off-guard when pages from ‘The Highlander’ were used as posters for an environmental campaign
Kelly Song
Journalism student observes trash-awareness posters using ‘The Highlander’ as background paper

Carlmont has always been a strong advocate for trash awareness, speaking out against a garbage-strewn campus over the years. But when Carlmont Journalism students came to school last Wednesday to find that their newspapers had been used without permission for an environmental campaign, discontent began to emerge among students who were unhappy with the situation.

Journalism students found that Carlmont’s Leadership 2 class had used pages from the November issue of ‘The Highlander’ as posters for speaking out against littering, writing large facts across the front in green and red paint. The posters were made as part of a multi-year environmental project, encouraging students to be more aware of the consequences of leaving trash behind on campus.

“It’s an effort to clean up the campus because students have gotten in to the bad habit of leaving their trash behind and not picking it up themselves,” said campaign leader Tara Sharvini. “We put up the posters to raise awareness among students of some harsh realities that our environment faces.”

However, despite Leadership’s effort to promote conserving paper,  Journalism students felt that their newspaper has been unfairly used without permission, and many expressed their discontent. Students argued that their newspaper was given the impression of being “garbage,” rather than treated as an important discussion outlet among students.

“The issue lies in the fact that out of all the materials they could have used, they chose our newspapers,” said staff writer Gianna Schuster. “Our school newspapers that people read and take home and look at to be informed and to read for pleasure. Regardless of their intention, it felt like they were viewing our paper as just another thing to recycle. And that’s not what our newspaper is.”

Leadership students responded by assuring that the motivation behind the campaign was solely to promote environmental friendly habits among the student body. Leadership adviser Jim Kelly even made efforts to personally address the issue, speaking to the Journalism 3 class on Wednesday to clear any misconceptions.

According to the students, Kelly said that the purpose of using the newspaper instead of brand-new paper was to further exercise the idea of recycling, and the campaign would help promote ‘The Highlander’ by using them as posters. Kelly explained that it was a miscommunication between the two classes, and that if any similar situation arises in the future, students should approach him first before spreading misconceptions.

“The newspaper is supposed to be a resource for students to gain awareness and think about certain issues,” said Sharvini. “Our project has the same goal to spread awareness and have students think about their actions and the bigger picture of how it affects our planet. I would ask those who are angry to try to look at the big picture, and consider how much good our project can do for Carlmont.”

Some Journalism students were even fairly pleased with Leadership’s decision to use their newspapers as posters for the campaign, stating that the idea was truly environmentally friendly and benefited both classes.

“I can see why many of the writers were taken aback when they saw their work used for the campaign, in which leadership decided to write over the words on our papers,” said editor Sarah Schisla. “However, I don’t really mind the campaign using our work like that. In fact, I think it made the campaign more powerful. We have newspapers left over every month, and they truly wanted to make it a recycling campaign. I liked seeing our extra newspapers be a part of such a powerful campaign rather than being thrown out.”

Regardless of the different controversies surrounding the topic, students all seem to agree that the campaign’s main purpose is to raise awareness among students. Both classes hope students are able to benefit from these efforts to promote a cleaner campus.

“The main goal is to just make students aware about the trash that’s always left behind at school,” said Leadership student Melissa Chee. “We’re trying to change the culture at Carlmont to make students more aware of their trash and how they can help change it.”

About the Contributor
Kelly Song, Highlander Editor
A wild journalist and an enthusiastic cook, Kelly Song has a passion for many aspects of her high school life. In addition to being a staff writer at Carlmont, she is also a columnist for her city newspaper, the Redwood Shores Pilot. She plays the violin competitively and loves to freelance for local musical productions. Kelly is also the founder of a non-profit organization to raise money to build a school in Kenya.

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The student news site of Carlmont High School in Belmont, California.
Journalism unaware newspapers were used for environmental campaign