GO GREEN! You see it everywhere. Every company or organization tries to do their part in the "Go Green" effort. St. Ambrose University is no exception.
In 2007-2008, SAU received a huge grant to put recycling bins in every building and every floor of the residence halls around campus. The grant was also supposed to go towards the purchasing of huge recycling machines that would sit where the old huts used to be beside Galvin Fine Arts Center. Instead, the maintenance crew has to take everything off campus.
"We have a recycling garage out on 53rd street," Jim Akright, maintenance department, said. "I have two kids that help me with it. One is a work study student and one is a high school student from Davenport Central. We just need more students to care and to want to help their environment."
The big blue recycling bins in the buildings are hard to miss because they take up half the width of a hallway in Cosgrove. No complaining there; it makes people remember to recycle.
"The freshman are the worst. It's like they don't care at all," Akright said. "Too many times I have to dump a whole bag of recycling into the garbage because they didn't clean out their bottles and contaminated the rest of the recyclables."
In other buildings, the bins are tucked away so people can walk right past them without ever realizing they are there. Because they do not see it, they are not remembering it is there and just throw out everything that could be recycled.
The 2008-2009 school year was the first year for the recycling bins and it did not go unnoticed. Many times, by recycling day those bins were overflowing with recycled materials. Students are still recycling but have either gotten lazy or just do not care to do it as much as last year.
"The upperclassman do a great job. They are on top of it and really make my job easy," Akright said. "It's the freshman that either are unaware of how recycling works or are just too lazy to throw a bottle away as they walk by. There is a garbage can right next to the bins and they choose to throw it in the garbage."
It is like the recycling bins were a new toy that everyone got to play with and now it is old and boring and everyone wants something new. Students still are not recycling enough. Cosgrove Hall is still throwing away more trash than recycled products. Students throw the recyclables in the trash because it is too hard to walk down the hall to the recycling bin and toss it in there, but they are still walking down that same hall to get to their friends' room.
"I would say 25 percent of recyclable material is being thrown away," Akright said.
SAU's recycling effort is very important and something the school should be proud of. Even though there are grants that allow the school to have these amenities, it is up to the students to rise to the challenge and make a change.
–As printed in The Buzz student newspaper
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