Campus recycling efforts increasing

Erin Kennedy

Erin Kennedy

Going green has been a trend this past year, but SDSU is taking that trend and making it a way of life.

“Prior to April, recycling of paper and similar products was done strictly in offices, and there was no recycling offered to the public,” said Jane Hegland, acting dean of the College of Family and Consumer Sciences and department head of Design, Merchandising and Consumer Sciences.

Hegland, who has been assisting in the recycling restoration, is a founding member of Project Sustainability, a recycling program created in spring 2008 to help increase awareness and use of recycling on campus. It has yielded ten recycling bins: two sets of two bins on the lower and main floors of the NFA, as well as two bins in the breezeway of the Rotunda. In one bin, paper products can be disposed of and in the other, cans.

“When we started Project Sustainability, we had three goals in mind,” said Hegland. “The first goal was to raise awareness amongst students at SDSU and increase their interest in it. The second goal was to target food systems, such as ARAMARK and campus dining, and help them start a recycling program in that area. The third goal was to explore ways of bringing recycling programs to campus that would be useful and effective for the SDSU campus.”

To help with maintenance of the recycling program, Project Sustainability has involved seven organizations and clubs that are associated with the NFA building. These include: the American Society of Interior Design, Modern Language Student Organization, Nursing Student Organization, Food Science, Dietetics and Hospitality Club, Apparel Merchandising Association, American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences Club and the Family, Career and Community Leaders of America Club.

“The NFA’s recycling program is a great benefit to both the school and the environment,” said Michelle Ralston, a junior interior design major and president of the SDSU American Society of Interior Design Organization. “It is the students’ effort and awareness of this issue that will make the program successful and cause administration to further implement recycling programs into other areas of the university.”

The process of Project Sustainability includes students recycling their papers and cans in the designated bins in the NFA building or in the designated bins at the Student Union.

“The Union has recycled aluminum cans and plastic bottles near the lower level vending machines since the mid ’90s,” said Jennifer Novotny, the Union Director. “We haven’t maintained a strong and pervasive effort throughout the building until now.”

According to Novotny, bins have been placed near trash can areas throughout The Union, and paper, plastic, aluminum, cardboard and glass can be recycled. This is only a temporary plan; a permanent one is in the works for The Union.

Three times a week, trucks from Cook’s Recycling in Brookings come to campus and collect the materials in the bins and bring them to their recycling facilities.

Hegland hopes that all students understand the true impact that recycling has on the whole world.

“With materials that are recyclable, we are able to give those materials another life. We save a few more trees by recycling paper, we decrease the need to mine aluminum and decrease the need to create glass out of sand. Through recycling, we are extending the life of materials and letting them live again.”

In the future, Project Sustainability hopes to continue expanding the recycling program in The Union and in the residence halls. It also hopes to start new programs in the library and in any other buildings on campus interested in recycling.

Hegland encourages students to pay attention to what they are recycling. It is important to pay attention to the “Do’s and Don’t’s of Recycling” that are posted above all of the recycling bins in NFA.

“It’s not very hard at all to recycle,” said Megan Schilling, a sophomore biology major. “I am really glad that SDSU is taking steps to make this program successful and make a difference.”

“We would love to see more student involvement in Project Sustainability,” said Hegland. “It’s important for students to take leadership in this project. Those interested in this project or in starting projects in other buildings are encouraged to participate and get involved.

“Every direction we turn, we’re bumping into green, environmentally friendly efforts,” said Hegland, “Some think that ‘going green’ is a trend, but it is sticking around, and it is important for our campus to get involved and be aware.”