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College successful in recycling efforts

April 12, 2013

Lakesha Howard / The Courier - After receiving a grant, Monmouth College has increased its recycling to over 100 tons since 2009. The “Green Initiative” courses have also contributed to the college’s recycling by allowing students to complete individual projects.

Grants, Citizenship classes help college succeed in “being green”

In 2009, Monmouth College launched a campus-wide recycling initiative. Four years ago, the college applied and received a $28,000 grant from the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity which jump-started the campaign by placing new recycling bins in all academic buildings, beneath every office desk, in every residence hall room and at major collection points in high-traffic areas. Before this initiative was in place, academic buildings had very few bins.

Since receiving the grant, the college has been able to recycle about 65 tons of recyclables per year, which dramatically contrasts with the 18 or 19 tons that were collected previous to 2009. Earl Wilfong, the director of facilities management, is responsible for supplying the resources and support needed in order to complete the job effectively.

“We have always had students that were interested in recycling, and recycling on campus makes sense both economically and environmentally,” said Wilfong when asked about the intent in increasing recycling efforts on campus. “Recycling, as the word indicates, is a cyclical process. Along with removing materials from the waste stream, it is also necessary to find a market for them. In order for the re-manufacturers to provide successful and profitable service, our society must support their ventures by purchasing recycled products. Our waste, whether recycled or not, doesn’t simply disappear after it’s out of sight.”

Members of the college campus also have a way to benefit the community on a more individual basis. Students can take the Citizenship course titled “Green Initiatives,” which strives to “define and propose a solution to a specific, local campus or community environmental program,” according to the course description.

Patrick Corrigan, a senior biochemistry and chemistry double major is currently taking Professor Brad Sturgeon’s Green Initiatives class.

“I have two different projects going on,” Corrigan said. “One is to build a rooftop garden on campus to spread knowledge about how these promote sustainable living in multiple ways, while still adding to the aesthetics of the building. The other project is to make a video that will resemble a TED talk about why being vegetarian is helpful to the environment.”

The course currently offers two sections, one taught by professors Tim Tibbetts and the other by professor Brad Sturgeon.

“My Citizenship class has had some group projects that have tried to raise awareness about recycling on campus,” Tibbetts said, “and to divert some of the materials thrown out at the end of the school year to alternative uses through an exchange last year, and there’s another project along those lines developing this spring.”

Glass, metals, paper and plastics are all materials that can be recycled easily and regularly. The college that students to rinse out the container. Specific instructions for what items are recyclable on campus are posted in each residence hall. Each plastic product has a Plastic Identification Code, a triangle with a number inside, usually on the bottom. Most recycling services accept plastics with codes one or two.

Elizabeth Meyer
Contributing Writer

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