Progress underway to a greener campus

Katie Hill

Katie HillReporter

As the greening of America sweeps its way across the states, SDSU has joined the tide of universities concerned about environmental conservancy.

About 30 faculty, staff members and students attended the summit. Individuals from many different departments, including Facilities and Services, Residential Life, Aramark, Athletics and Environmental Health and Safety, spoke about recycling efforts on campus.

“The overall goal is to get everyone in the same room talking about the same topic,” said Matt James, landscape architecture professor and chair of the Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability Committee.

The summit was a two-part meeting. First, the speakers gave an overview about what is currently happening regarding recycling. The second half was an open forum where anyone could share what he or she wants out of a recycling program.

The informal conference helped faculty, staff and students recognize what is already happening on campus and what still needs to improve.

“[A recycling program] is just something that needs to happen,” said Clark Young, a senior global studies major and Sierra Club member. “[Our current situation] is embarrassing.”

Lynne Finn, assistant director of Facilities and Services, spoke about the efforts and opportunities occurring within Facilities and Services.

“In general, recycling has been a reactive program, rather than proactive,” Finn said. “It’s been passive, undesignated and unfunded.”

Many departments at SDSU have taken an initiative in various ways. director of Environmental Health and Safety, Gary Yarrow, explained his department’s recycling efforts.

Environmental Health and Safety recycles numerous products, including used oil, used solvents and chemicals, light bulbs, car batteries and ballasts. Some of the products are transported to various recycling companies, where they take care of the recycling process for free.

“The number of used oil gallons recycled each year varies on how many vehicles are on campus,” Yarrow said.

Other minor recycling efforts are available in the athletic department and residence halls. The Stanley J. Marshall HPER Center has bottle-shaped recycling containers. The containers are also placed in tailgating lots during sporting events.

As for the residence halls, students can ask for a compost-able plastic bag from the front desk to collect their recyclables and recycle them at a trash point outside their building.

The open forum section of the summit allowed anyone to ask questions and provide suggestions, not only to the Environmental Stewardship and Sustainability Committee, but also to other faculty and staff members.

Many concerned individuals participated in the discussion and voiced their opinions on the matter, whether it was about a possible campaign, financial issues, or the demand for a centralized recycling program.

“It’s not about educating, it’s about encouraging,” Finn said, in response to the demand for a recycling program.

ESSC will take what was said at the summit into consideration. This conference was a step toward the development of a recycling program.

“I suspect this summit will improve efforts to make a coordinated system8212;and what ever that is, it must involve communication,” James said.

The recycling summit is the first effort from the ESSC to sponsor an event on campus. James thinks it’s possible that a recycling subcommittee will evolve from the event.

“This is a huge area of impact for students – to work in conjunction with each other to treat the campus as a living and learning laboratory,” James said.

Students stressed their opinions not just about the importance of a centralized recycling program but also about its implementation as well.

“The lack of bins is frustrating because they want to educate use, but where are the bins at?” Young said. “It’s like teaching someone how to ride a bike. You can’t explain it to them and not give them a bicycle.”