Despite the lack of any site visits or group meetings, this week served productively set us up for the final phases of our projects. After collecting a small number of surveys last week, we have revised our Vietnamese survey and Alana and Lauren have graciously offered to print out new surveys for us at City Hall in preparation for the Tet Festival this Sunday, Feb. 22nd. The City of San Jose has secured us a festival booth for the afternoon where we can take surveys from festival visitors and walk around surveying people if needed. We also plan on passing out fliers from the booth that give information about what constitutes household hazardous waste as well as information about the San Jose HHW Facility.
Surveying outside the downtown public library last week certainly gave us valuable survey data. We believe that the demographic of the people we surveyed there was disproportionally young and contained a higher percentage of white people than what would accurately reflect the demographics of the city. By surveying at this festival, we hope to incorporate the input of some of the sizable Vietnamese population that San Jose holds. Operating along the same line of thought, we gained the input of of a portion of the Latino demographic when we surveyed at the McKinley Neighborhood Meeting. We are expecting the people at the San Jose Earthquakes soccer game on Feb. 28th will be a fairly diverse mix.
As far as setting up new partnerships, our connection with the Tech Museum has been slow in developing. However, we are starting to develop ideas for some way to engage visitors near the entrance, either through some sort of poster-like display, or an interactive activity targeted at children in which participators sort objects representing different examples of waste into three bins: trash, recycling, and hazardous waste.
Additionally, we are currently in the process of contacting two middle schools and one high school. The hope is that we can prepare some sort of short lesson plan, to be carried out by either a volunteer or a city employee, or maybe the two of us, that would educate the students about common types of household hazardous waste and why they need to be disposed of separately. This could be a short video (there are already some put out by the city that we might be able to use) or a similar type of sorting game. It would also be useful to survey the students to see how much they already know about HHW to gage the extent of current social exposure to hazardous waste. Afterwards, fliers advertising the San Jose HHW Facility would be distributed to the students to take home and show their parents. According to the ex-Seattle City Councilmember who I interviewed about the strategies used by King County, having children teach their parents about hazardous waste was the most effective way to spread awareness to the homeowner demographic who produce the bulk of household hazardous waste.
Lastly, our GIS project has been coming along nicely. This week we finished entering in all the retail locations in Santa Clara County where residents can drop off their various types of HHW, totaling at over 500 locations. The finished spread sheet can be viewed here.
The next steps will be to slightly reformat the address column to make the data convertible to exact locations on the map. Pretty soon, we can start creating the actual map. We hope to have it ready by next weekend for the soccer game so we can get feedback from San Jose residents about whether they believe it would be useful or not. Hopefully people will find it a helpful tool.