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The Official Student Media of Northwestern State University of Louisiana

Purple Media Network

Purple Media Network

Keep Louisiana Beautiful and NSU student organizations aim to beautify the campus

Jayda Gee
With the Keep Louisiana Beautiful grant NSU is working towards reducing waste on campus.

Northwestern State University of Louisiana embraces environmental awareness as a member of the Keep Louisiana Beautiful University Affiliate program. Keep Louisiana Beautiful is a non-profit program that provides the resources and tools to prevent litter, reduce waste, increase recycling and protect the natural resources of Louisiana to a statewide network of affiliates.

The KLB website highlights four key initiatives which support the program’s mission to promote personal, corporate and community responsibility for a clean and beautiful Louisiana.

KLB offers grants programs, advocacy and data collection to improve policy and infrastructure, enforces legislation support, ordinance templates and a litter court handbook to strengthen environmental law support, influences positive behavior through education and awareness campaigns and increases community capacity through litter cleanups and recycling collections.

KLB’s primary project is Love the Boot Week. During this week, partners of KLB collectively focus on litter cleanup, beautification and recycling in their communities. This year KLB will initiate the third annual Love the Boot Week April 20 to April 28.

In 2021, KLB developed a University Affiliate program which offers Louisiana institutions the opportunity to express a commitment to environmental wellness.

Jennifer Kelly, director of Auxiliary Services, explained why NSU joined the affiliate program to create Keep Northwestern State Beautiful.

“NSU is a beautiful campus and being a part of the affiliation helps promote our campus and Louisiana,” Kelly said.

The KLB University Affiliate program was designed to offer state institutions recognition by sending a message that they are a part of a greater movement.

“It is a commitment to continuous improvement in sustainability and environmental issues on our university campus,” Kelly said. “It signifies that you are part of a greater movement that has a proven track record of behavioral change and preserving the beauty of Northwestern State University and Louisiana.”

The affiliation program is also a means to inspire students at participating universities to follow KLB’s mission.

“We want our students to know and come to understand the importance of environmental responsibility and awareness that no act of involvement is too small to make a difference in keeping our campus and Louisiana beautiful,” Kelly said.

Alexander Engstrom, Student Government Association speaker of the senate, encourages students to get involved in KLB’s mission. The Environmental Catalyst Organization and Alpha Lambda Delta First Year Success Society offer opportunities for students who would like to participate in environmental projects at NSU.

“Organizations like ECO, ALD and others sponsor events that students can get involved with or even if they’d like to make an impact on their own, they can do that too,” Engstrom said.

SGA supports Keep Northwestern State Beautiful as an initiative to preserve the campus.

“Being a KLB affiliate will bring a sense of hope to students as we do everything we can to keep our environment healthy,” Engstrom said. “As a Student Government Association, we have to take every step we can to help future demons.”

Steven Gruesbeck, NSU’s director of service learning, sat on the KLB board several years ago when NSU first began a relationship with the program.

“I liked it a lot, it had a lot of people working from all sorts of different areas from all across Louisiana,” Gruesbeck said. “Although we each did something very different professionally, we all had this common idea that beautification projects and reducing waste was very important, personally, important for society, important for communities.”

Gruesbeck sat as a representative for higher education, which initially connected NSU to KLB. At the time, NSU and KLB collaborated on environmental projects with no official relationship.

NSU’s official affiliation with KLB is rather recent.

“About a year ago, the president of our university said, ‘hey we would be interested in rekindling a relationship with KLB,’ so we began with writing some grants,” Gruesbeck said. “Around that time, Northwestern applied to become a university affiliate and I think now we’re one of maybe a dozen or more university affiliates of Keep Louisiana Beautiful.”

KLB currently partners with ten university affiliates across the state: Grambling State University, Loyola University New Orleans, Louisiana State University, Nicholls State University, Tulane University, University of Louisiana Monroe, University of Louisiana at Lafayette, University of New Orleans, Xavier University of Louisiana and NSU.

“Each of us are dedicated to supporting the mission of KLB which is to reduce waste and create beautiful spaces and Keep Louisiana Beautiful,” Gruesbeck said.

As a university affiliate, NSU can apply for grants from KLB which fund sustainability projects on Louisiana campuses. The first grant NSU received from KLB funded the purchase of 10 trash cans that were strategically placed near walking trails and sporting facilities at NSU.

Since becoming a university affiliate, Gruesbeck has written several grants to initiate projects for Keep Northwestern State Beautiful.

“I wrote two grants, one was a partnership with Keep Northwestern State Beautiful and the Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development and the other was in partnership with the Conservation Club,” Gruesbeck said.

In collaboration with Gallaspy College of Education and Human Development, Gruesbeck received funding for a beautification project at the Eugene P. Watson Memorial Library. Within the grass roundabout at the entrance of Watson, a garden of camellias, roses and indian hawthorns will be planted for Love the Boot Week.

Gruesbeck was also awarded a grant to install a water refill station in the Dear School of Creative and Performing Arts. In collaboration with the NSU Conservation Club, the grant funds partially allotted the distribution of 350 refillable stainless-steel water bottles at NSU.

Gruesbeck explained his inspiration to apply for KLB grants.

“It seemed everybody had something to contribute, Northwestern had something to contribute, KLB had something to contribute, and it was toward a good cause and there was a need, so we tried to fill it with these grants,” Gruesbeck said.

Gruesbeck explained that the grants only serve as funding whereas action on them comes from faculty and students. Along with Engstrom, Gruesbeck encourages students to get involved.

“I would love for students to find ways in which they can participate,” Gruesbeck said. “I think that ECO and SGA’s initiative to turn off the lights when you leave is a great one and that ties back to conservation and kind of preserving the resources that we’ve got, so get involved.”

Even something as simple as turning the lights off in an empty room can do so much for the environment. Whether big or small, students can make an impact, he said.

“There’s lots of little ways in which students become involved and there are big ways: partnering with Keep Northwestern Beautiful, becoming a member of ECO, becoming a member of Conservation Club,” Gruesbeck said. “I think it’s a great way of getting involved and then students will meet others who are like-minded, and I think collectively as a group a lot more can be accomplished,”

There is always a need to better the environment and keeping the state beautiful can start with keeping NSU’s campus beautiful, he said.

“I think the most important message would be to enjoy our beautiful campus, take advantage of the resources that we have on campus and then take advantage of some of these opportunities to get involved either on a small scale, or on a larger scale, or in multiple ways,” Gruesbeck said.

To get involved with Alpha Lambda Delta’s “Keep it Clean” at Watson Library, refer to updates on their Instagram @nsula_ald.

To get involved with the Environmental Catalyst Organization, reach out via their Instagram

To get involved with the Conservation Club, reach out via their instagram at

To get involved with Keep Northwestern State Beautiful you can reference the Keep Louisiana Beautiful website here

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About the Contributors
Nina Ovalle
Nina Ovalle, Current Sauce - News Editor
Nina Ovalle is a junior hospitality management and tourism major. This is her third year in The Current Sauce, and second year as News editor. She hopes to bring important campus information to light and make students aware of everything that goes on around them.
Jayda Gee
Jayda Gee, Current Sauce - Photo Editor
Jayda Gee is a sophomore majoring in biology. She spends her time on campus working in the recruiting office and volunteering off-campus at the Natchitoches National Fish Hatchery. Being a new photographer, she hopes to expand her skills and knowledge as well as shooting everything NSU.

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