Green Leader: Stacy Swanson
School: Eureka College
Project Objective: To purchase aluminum, paper and plastic recycling receptacles and begin a composting program at Spoon River College
Project Activities or Steps: Step One began in January of 2008 when our environmental group started a recycling program in Taylor Hall, one of our four campus buildings. We purchased recycling receptacles out-of-pocket, and we have been selling mugs as a fundraiser. The students and I have been emptying the containers biweekly, separating paper, plastics and aluminum, and taking them to the local recycling center.
Step Two will be purchasing receptacles for the rest of the campus. There is a true need to recycle in the cafeteria, and we have been planning a composting program with the natural resources students.
Step Three will be using the compost for a campus garden starting this summer. We will be using our fresh produce in the cafeteria. By growing our own organic and local foods, we will reduce production of greenhouse gases made by transporting food long distances, and it will be a service-learning project for our students.
Project Resources: We have students who are members of PEEPs as well as our natural resource majors who will be working on this project. There are also three faculty and staff members, including myself. We have already begun implementing the recycling program, but we lack funding. Everything purchased has been raised by faculty members and students.
Project Budget: We would like to purchase receptacles for three buildings and the cafeteria. The cost for 25 bins at $20 each would be $500, and the materials for the compost bin would be approximately $100. The total project would cost $600.
Time Required: We would expand our recycling program as soon as the recycling bins are purchased. The composting would begin when warmer weather arrives in April.
How This Affects Your Community: Our community is rural and our students have very few opportunities to participate in activities. This project gives our students the opportunity to make a difference and incorporate eco-friendly living into their lives. Our community has no curbside recycling, and very few students even know where to go to take their recyclables. Our job is to educate the public and take a step toward showing the whole community the importance of recycling and local foods. One of my students mentioned that his grandpa worked for the coal mines his entire life, and his participation was at first seen as a threat. Now that he has been helping with the recycling program, making posters about local and organic foods, and coming to meetings, the whole family has been asking about our organization and "how the tree-hugging is going", to borrow a phrase from his grandpa. They are proud of him and he has made a difference to his whole extended family. They are devoted to this program, and I want them to have a chance to continue to take a leadership role at the college.
Getting Others Involved: I am a DZ Alum from Eureka College, and our community college is only one hour away from Eureka. This would be a wonderful way to encourage students to participate in the Delta Zeta organization when they transfer.