By Alexandra Napoli
Brown and white won’t be the only St. Bonaventure colors this semester, because SBU is going green. The Sustainability Committee has found a way to make recycling exciting to students, faculty and staff. The committee has decided to participate in RecycleMania, an eight-week competition between colleges and universities around the U.S. and Canada.
From Feb. 3 to Mar. 30, schools involved will report the amount of recycling and trash collected each week, and will be ranked in various categories based on which one of the hundreds of schools recycles the most.
Sister Suzanne Kush, C.S.S.F., chairperson for the Sustainability Committee, said she cannot wait to begin St. Bonaventure’s second year participating in RecycleMania.
“One of the goals is to educate and show the importance of recycling and how it affects the environment, that we are to be stewards and not users,” Sister Suzanne said. “It is equally as important to understand that most items we use daily can be recycled. The only items that should be placed in the waste stream are tissues, paper towels and food waste.”
RecycleMania is not just a Sustainability Committee effort. The entire SBU community is involved, including Tread Lightly, a club devoted to keeping the environment healthy. For an exciting way to show that almost anything can be used again, Tread Lightly plans to host a “Trashion Fashion Show” where students will create outfits out of recycled materials.
With Tread Lightly making RecycleMania fun and the rest of the SBU community getting the message out, it’s almost impossible not to join the movement. In residence halls, students will find colorful posters along with recycling cans in trash rooms, making it easier for students to choose recycling over simply throwing garbage away. Chris Brown, coordinator of residential education, is overseeing the competition in the residence halls.
“I’ll be working with the RAs and RDs to encourage participation on all of the floors,” Brown said. “One main goal is to increase campus awareness of zero-sort recycling. With zero-sort, you can put all of your recycled materials into one bin. Paper, plastic, cardboard, glass, tin – as long as it can be recycled.”
RecycleMania is reaching each component of life at SBU, and is making a difference everywhere, according to both Sister Suzanne and Brown.
“ARAMARK will be implementing their own efforts to increase recycling in dining facilities,” Brown said. “We are working with athletics to focus on recycling things like the programs at basketball games and even the cardboard popcorn boxes. This really is a campus-wide project.”
With participation from all parts of campus, the Sustainability Committee, along with Tread Lightly, hope SBU’s recycling rate will grow from 12 percent to 20 percent by the end of RecycleMania.
“For comparison: the city of San Francisco recycles over 80 percent – so there is a lot of work we can do,” Brown said.
RecycleMania will not only make SBU a cleaner and more beautiful environment; it will also bring students, faculty and staff together. This encourages all people to put their efforts together and become one to achieve a goal.