For the tree-huggers and enviromentally-minded, recycling on campus can be quite the challenge.
Krista Cukrowski, junior digital entertainment technology major from Abilene, is the president of the new student organization, Wildcats for Sustainability, which is trying to combat this issue.
“There is no standardization and, half the time, people have no idea what all can be recycled,” Cukrowski said. “Countless times, I’ve seen people put either non-recyclables into bins and then trashing the others.”
Sean Branchaw, a senior mathematics major from Gaithersburg, Md., is the Wildcats for Sustainability vice-president. He agreed campus recycling is in need of renovating.
“I think that ACU is very concerned with the environment, but I think that they could do a better job getting the word out,” he said. “They offer incredible recycling programs for students, but I think a lot of students do not even know about them. ”
Branchaw said he hopes Wildcats for Sustainability can be the bridge connecting students with the recycling opportunities already in existence. Also, he would like to see a residence hall-wide recycling.
“While some halls have programs in place, I would love every hall to have the opportunity,” he said.
Corey Ruff, executive director of Facilities and Campus Management, said recycling pickup is available for any building on campus, including residence halls.
“The challenge we’ve had in the past is making sure that someone from the residences hall is available when the collection crew comes to pick up the recyclables,” he said. “Residence halls are secure buildings, so the collection crew can’t enter them like they can the other buildings on campus.”
Ruff said the purchasing department is willing to work with each dorm to develop a plan that works for their hall.
Futhermore, Branchaw and Cukrowksi said students’ participation in Wildcats for Sustainability has been thriving.
“The only problem is that we have had trouble dedicating the time to setting up official meetings and creating an official member list,” Branchaw said. “However, we have plenty of interest from students we have talked to and I think the potential is there.”
The group was unable to participate in the Campus Sustainability Day due to time constraints. However, Branchaw said they have successfully secured funds for a bike rack at Moody Coliseum, in addition to the second rack installed at the Rec Center.
Ruff said one area he believes ACU could improve upon is better energy management.
“There is a huge opportunity for ACU to save money by having better control and use of our energy,” he said. “Everyone on campus can help with this by making sure all their nonessential equipment is turned off before leaving for the day. In the facilities management world, we are always looking for opportunities to reduce energy consumption by replacing antiquated equipment with more energy efficient equipment. If we all continue to look for ‘green’ opportunities, we can make a huge impact on the energy savings at ACU.”
Branchaw said practicing better sustainability would support and help accomplish the university’s vision.
“Leaders who are thinking globally will recognize that a life of waste and excess is not sustainable forever and it negatively affects the lives of those around us as well as the entire world,” he said. “Leaders who practice sustainability are doing their part to respect the earth that we have so graciously been given to inhabit.”
Cukrowski said students can promote good change by simply being aware of their own actions.
“To me, the process is simple,” she said. “Turn over whatever you’ve been drinking, and see if there’s a little triangle. If there is, great, recycle it. If there isn’t, great, reuse it, repurpose it or find your nearest trash bin. It’s about changing the way we consume and, most importantly, it’s about changing the way we think. Take a look at what you’re holding and ask yourself, ‘What else could this be?'”
For more information or to request recycling pick-up, email firstname.lastname@example.org