REGINA — Students and teachers at two Regina Roman Catholic Schools were presented with United Nations Certificates of Recognition for an oil recycling program begun five years ago.
The oil recycling program was co-ordinated by Lee Garringer, vice-principal at St. Joshaphat School and Arkin Kauf, teacher at St. Matthew School.
“We wanted to do something that would benefit the entire community with something that wasn’t being done now. We knew used oil was being dumped and there were no programs for that, so that’s what we and the students chose,” said Garringer, who started the program in 2009 when he was at St. Catherine’s School.
“It’s overwhelming and humbling to be recognized on an international scale for something we’re doing in Regina, and especially for the student’s efforts in the Regina Roman Catholic School Division,” said Kauf.
The program has expanded to other schools in the Catholic division and since its inception more than 4,000 litres of used oil and hundreds of oil filters and containers have been collected. The oil is collected by Regina based Re-solvv Recycling and sent to an Edmonton oil recycling firm where it is turned into asphalt.
Each school selects a day at some point in the school year, advertised throughout the division to encourage participation, with students doing the organizing and collecting the oil.
St. Josaphat Grade 8 Students Aiden Selinger and Jordan Fry, St. Matthew Grade 7 Students Alex Liskowich, Mackenzie Craigen and Grade 6 Students Rachel Manzon along with Garringer and Kauf accepted the certificates at their respective schools.
The awards were presented by Lyle Benko and Dr. Roger Petry, co-ordinators for the Regional Centre of Expertise on Education for Sustainable Development (RCE Saskatchewan). Benko is a retired teacher now president of an environmental and education consultancy firm; Petry is an assistant professor of philosophy, Luther College, University of Regina. The two attended a Nov. 7 United Nations University conference in Yokoyama, Japan where they were presented with the certificates of recognition which they in turn presented to teachers and students at St. Josaphat School Dec. 1 and St. Matthew School Dec. 4.
RCE Saskatchewan was also recognized for the award program it began in 2008. “The United Nations University decided that our recognition model was a good one and so they began a global recognition program,” said Petry.
RCE Saskatchewan has three times recognized the oil recycling program but this was the first time it received a United Nations University Award. “From local to global,” quipped Benko.