Green campus hits the bins

by: Adam Haenlein and Brandy Abraham


Last week’s “Go Green” series gave students a chance to make newsprint dresses and dumpster dive in order to promote campus recycling.



Almost 99 percent of what we buy gets thrown away.

On Thursday, March 22, sociology students took part in the fourth event in the weeklong “Go Green” series.

The “Garbology” event was led by Brian Thomas, assistant professor of sociology.

“The purpose of the event is to examine trash habits on campus,” Thomas said. “Hopefully, we can encourage more students to recycle their garbage instead of throwing it away.”

The student participants were from Thomas’ global cultures and introduction to sociology classes.

The Valley Vanguard

Vanguard photo | Sean Dudley

Last week, sociology students from Brian Thomas’s classes participated in “Garbology,” the fourth event in the “Go Green” series.

According to Ann Coburn-Collins, director of the office of adjunct faculty, students were divided into two teams. The first team retrieved garbage from the dumpsters outside Living Center North while the second team sorted through the trash looking for paper, plastic, glass and aluminum cans.

“The whole point of these activities is to make the students more mindful,” Coburn-Collins said. “We want to help make them smarter consumers and better advocates for the earth.”

After the trash was sorted, the groups went through recycling bins to see what should and shouldn’t belong there.

This is the fourth time this event has been held, and Thomas wants to make sure that it continues until the school starts seeing an improvement in the amount of waste recycled.

“For me, this event is interesting for two reasons,” Thomas said. “First, every year the majority of garbage that we go through could be recycled. And, secondly, all of this unnecessary waste ends up costing the school money, so it would be beneficial for students to improve their habits.”


Recycled Fashion Show

Fashion has never been so biodegradable.

On Tuesday, March 20, the Resident Housing Association (RHA) kicked off the second event in their weeklong “Go Green” series. This event was called the “Recycling Fashion Show.”

The event was more than a fashion show, but instead was a challenge for participants to create clothing out of recyclable materials.

“I feel like there was so much creativity here tonight,” said Mary Zimmerman, medical laboratory sciences freshman. “It was all very imaginative.”

According to the rules, every group of three had one hour to create an outfit out of recyclable materials. One person from each team volunteered to be the model while the others were responsible for gathering materials.

As soon as the event began, there was a quick rush for newspaper and trash bags as the groups started to create their dresses.

After an hour, the five groups that participated met outside the Student Life Center and showcased their work by walking down a runway.

Stephanie Morris, Spanish and theatre freshman, said this was her favorite part of the evening.

“I loved watching the girls walk down the runway,” Morris said. “I can’t believe how well their dresses turned out.”

The winning group created a wedding dress made from newspapers, paperclips, trash bags, toilet paper and other recyclable items.

“This was a great way to express a very important message,” Zimmerman said. “Recycling can be easy and fun.”


Green Conference

Sustainability is the keyword in the future of waste reduction.

On Friday, March 23, lecturers discussed the future of recycling in the final event of the weeklong “Go Green” series.

Fine arts sophomore Sean Dudley directed the event. Dudley also was responsible for coordinating every event.

Throughout the lectures, prizes were awarded to students through trivia questions regarding the environment and being eco-friendly.

Guest lecturer Ursina Kohler is an employee of Dow Chemical Co.’s corporate sustainability department.

Kohler said Dow’s major goal for ensuring a sustainable future is to focus on the three major aspects of sustainability: planet, profit and people. It’s never a good idea to focus primarily on one piece of the puzzle.

“There’s more than green to sustainability,” Kohler said. “Like any company, we’d like to make profits, but we want to do so responsibly. We do everything with the future in mind.”

Kohler also went on to say that there are five world challenges or “mega trends” that continue to threaten sustainability: health and nutrition, transportation and infrastructure, energy, climate change and water.

“As a company, we want to always focus on these things,” Kohler said. “However, it starts with you guys. Students have enthusiasm that a lot of other people seem to have lost. You should try to influence others to live sustainably and recycle.”


Getting Wasted

For one group of volunteers, recycling isn’t just important, but necessary to ensure sustainable living.

Last Monday, March 19, Alternative Breaks hosted the first event in the weeklong “Go Green” series. The goal of this series was to raise awareness for recycling and waste reduction.

This particular event was called “Getting Wasted,” and offered guests freshly made fruit drinks and a presentation on the benefits of recycling.

Kelly Borse, nursing junior, said that the event was inspired by an alternative breaks trip to Paris, Va., where volunteers helped farm and learned about living sustainably on the Liberty Hall Livestock Rescue.

“It was an amazing experience,” Borse said. “It was during that week that we decided that we wanted to help educate others about how to recycle and why it makes such a big difference.”

The presenters centered their statistics on the typical life of a college student and the amount of average waste that gets thrown away instead of recycled.

For example, the presenters said that pizza boxes make up 41 percent of solid waste. Recycling this cardboard could save up to nine cubic yards of landfill space.


Indoor Snowball Fight

Last Wednesday, more than 20 students participated in the “Indoor Snowball Fight,” which was the third event of the weeklong “Go Green” series.

Some of the main participants were from Alternative Breaks. The host, graphic design junior Sean Dudley, attended the 2012 spring break three weeks ago.

The Valley Vanguard

Vanguard photo | Sean Dudley

During the “Indoor Snowball Fight,” students split up into two teams where they used recycled paper as snowballs and tables and people as shields.

He said that the Historical Preservation and Sustainability Spring Break inspired him to hold the series.

The snowballs were made from recycled paper. The crumpled paper, retrieved from campus recycled bins, also contained green facts.

“The students are utilizing the recycle bins across campus,” said Bethan Thrun, nursing freshman, “and I’m so glad to see that.”

Before the real snowball fight, there were two practice runs, where the two groups consisting of ten people each started out on their own side and then collided.

This event was hosted by South East Community Council.

“I think it is great to spread awareness and I think this will get people involved,” said Renee Kucher, SE Community Council member and business sophomore.

The teams used tables and people as forts and shields. Team two won two out of three rounds and was declared the winner.

Seven of the original participants played in the final round, which was an all-out-war where Ross Reaume, nursing freshman was the last participant

After the fight, the participants gathered in a circle and opened the snowballs.

One fact read, “Eight million diapers are thrown away each year.”

Another read, “Plastic bags are easier to recycle than paper bags.”

Amber Swanson, graphic design freshman said that the event made her rethink about what she recycles everyday.

“It makes me think about the packaging and why I just threw it away before,” she said.

Winners were given bubble wands, still in their packaging, and Swanson recycled it after the event using a campus-recycling bin.

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