Community Life Department heads up recycling program in attempts to expand in the coming years
By Dan Erickson
Recycling is undergoing a resurgence this semester in attempts to become a more eco-friendly university.
To create and sustain an opportunity for recycling in the university community, recycling bins have been placed in the residence halls and are emptied on a bi-weekly basis. Student Senate originally instituted the program and now Student Life has employed a small part-time staff of students who have a passion for recycling to carry it out.
While Student Life has extra recycling bins on hand, they are not expanding into the rest of campus.
“If the rest of campus wants to participate [in recycling], they have to empty the recycling bins themselves,” said Peter Hansen, Community Life Coordinator and the head of North Central’s recycling program. “The reason for that is that there was never an easy way to get students keys for that after hours [for security reasons].”
Though the initiative originally began operating on a volunteer basis, the program eventually shifted to a paid position out of a need for worker consistency.
The Housekeeping department has remained separate from the recycling project due to a lack of resources to maintain and manage a comprehensive campus-wide effort.
“Housekeeping does not oversee recycling [because] there is a significant cost for our department to run an effective and efficient recycling program, of which we just don’t have funding available right now,” said Lauren Milani, the assistant director of Housekeeping. “In order to keep the school’s costs as low as possible Student Development is utilizing their staff to run the program for designated locations.”
For the students involved in the recycling project, it is more than simply a part-time job. In part, they see what they do as a calling.
“God has called each one of us to be good stewards of all he has given us,” said Sofía Almarza, junior media communications major and Recycling Assistant. “This includes being responsible with what we do with our trash. Because I have had a revelation about stewardship in my own life, I recycle with conviction. I’m not big supporter of “go green” campaigns and all of that hype, but I know recycling is very important.”
Currently, the recycling project keeps close track of how much material is being recycled, recording both how full the bins are when emptied, and the length of time it takes workers to empty the bins. This data is collected with the intent to support future expansion with statistical backing.
Such an expansion would mean increasing the amount of recycling bins in the dorms, adding them to classrooms and offices, and increasing the frequency that the bins are emptied.
Given such an expansion, Hansen is optimistic.
“I would estimate that we would recycle 50 percent more than we do now,” said Hansen.