Wildcats for Sustainability is trying to get recycling in several residence halls despite the lack of momentum for the campus-wide sustainability project, the Genesis Fund.
Wildcats for Sustainability, which started last spring, worked with the Students’ Association to start the Genesis Fund resolution. The resolution would have enacted a $25 fee to all students and the money would be used to start campus-wide recycling, solar panel projects and other sustainability efforts. The resolution was put to a vote by the entire student body, but only 480 students voted. The measure passed, with 324 voting for and 148 voting against it.
Dr. Chris Riley, vice president for Student Life, said in an email that the Senior Leadership Team decided not to implement the fee, but will still consider funding sustainability efforts through a different budget.
“We did not feel the level of support warranted a new mandatory fee,” Riley said.
Although the Genesis Fund seems to have stalled, Wildcats for Sustainability will still work on a recycling project, said Rebecca Soo, president of Wildcats for Sustainability. The group will start by putting recycling bins for just one item, such as plastic bottles, in one or two residence halls. Barrett Hall has already given approval if the the group moves forward on the project.
“There have been many years of sucessful but then failed attempts at recycling,” Soo said. “This is the first club that is for the sheer purpose of sustainability not just for the environment, but for people.”
The recycling bins will be marked with the Wildcats for Sustainability email, so when the bins are full, someone from the residence hall can email the group to send a volunteer to take the bin to a recycling center.
“If the recycling works on campus, it’ll show people on campus there are students who actually care about the environment,” Soo said. “A lot of people really care about the environment, they want to recycle and all that stuff, but then they don’t really do anything about it.”
She said about 200 students are “solidarity members” of the club because they signed a form saying they agreed with Wildcats for Sustainability’s mission. The group is also working on helping the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences build a greenhouse for growing food.