Did you know that more than 70 percent of SVSU waste material is cardboard? Well, I didn’t.
I find it interesting that the University, although is “going green,” is finding itself at a loss at keeping up with other universities in Michigan when it comes to sustainability.
Did you know that the University of Michigan has had and utilized its recycling program for 20 years? Do you know that it won the fourth annual Recycling Champions competition in conjunction with RecycleMania? I didn’t either.
I understand that SVSU can’t afford to create a recycling program that large.
For one thing, it doesn’t have the manpower.
I do know a few things, though.
I know that SVSU has a Green Cardinal program, has participated in “Garbology” with Brian Thomas and has taken steps with campus facilities to help students utilize the recycle bins on campus.
Yet, I don’t think that is enough.
I really don’t want to start sounding like a tree-hugger. Yet, I want the SVSU body to realize that as a whole it is throwing away a lot of recyclable goods.
I know that every day I see students throw away Papa Johns to-go cardboard boxes.
I have also seen students throw away water bottles.
I can’t say that I didn’t do that, too.
This is my fourth year at SVSU, and for three of those years, I lived on campus. I have lived in Living Center North, Pine Grove and University Village, and I remember how much I threw away on move-in and move-out days.
Do you throw away food cans? Do you throw away old plastic or cloth shower curtains? I did.
The point is that students need to realize that recycling is as easy as throwing trash away.
I remember that in University Village the recycling bin was only 2 feet away from the larger trash bin. The SVSU dorms provide students with a blue recycle bin to collect the milk bottles and the yogurt containers.
I believe that students are only two steps away from keeping SVSU clean and eco-friendly.
We are, and I say “we” because although I am a senior, I still contribute to the waste at SVSU.
I think a lot of students don’t recycle as much as they used to because it is too convenient to throw recyclables in that big trash bin in the kitchen.
I also think that if more volunteers work with organizations like the Green Cardinal, SVSU would be winning awards like the University of Michigan.
I can guess what students are thinking right now, reading this opinion, that SVSU is definitely not the University of Michigan.
Well, students are right; we are not that kind of university. But shouldn’t we try to be? Why should a university like SVSU not have motivated students?
I used to think that SVSU was a small, commuter college and that students can’t make a difference at a small school.
But attitudes like that elected Rick Snyder. I think students need to realize that they can make a difference.
I am a senior, and I realized as a junior that recycling is important and I wanted to be involved. I still can, but most of the help is going to come from freshmen.
Recycling and most eco-friendly programs require volunteering. Yes, I have no doubt the truth in that. But students should be involved in their University.
Also, it isn’t just that students need to be involved but they need to realize that volunteering is a part of any kind of job.
As a biology or pre-med major, they need to volunteer at hospitals for their degree.
Creative writing majors need to volunteer at workshops. I don’t believe there should be an incentive to sustainability.
I am sure you can find ways to be sustainable and eco-friendly without leaving your dorm.
After all, you can save four cents a day by shutting down your computer rather than putting it to sleep.
My advice for English or creative writing majors is to take up ecocriticism and take a look at Orion Magazine.
Ecocriticism is the critique of nature in works of literature. Creative writers could write a story about nature.
I know this is corny, but it would work.
My advice for biology majors is just to keep doing what you’re doing. I remember my biology classes, and I trust in all of you.
I think math majors are also statistic-makers.
Did you know that more than 60 percent of people use paper seat covers in Michigan?
I didn’t either, so I think it is up to you to make the numbers matter when it comes to making an impact on recycling.
My point is that everyone, and anyone, can contribute to making a change.