A survey on campus recycling from JCCC”s Sustainability Crew (I don’t know the exact name . I picture kinda like the Sears Blue Crew except they wear green) was posted on the college’s electronic mail server, Infolist. Below is what happens when a survey includes a space for ‘additional comments’:
Some of the recycling bins don’t accommodate the larger water bottles. I know one can lift the lid but I’ve seen students try to fit a slightly larger bottle in the bin and when they couldn’t get it to fit, they threw it in the trash.
Let students/staff/faculty/community members know that recycling pays for a scholarship and let them know how students can apply for that scholarship. I don’t mean simply list it among our hundreds of scholarships to be lost in the directory. I’m talking REALLY push it. Think of it: our trash can pay for students to go to school. Literally the can I’m drinking out of right now can help a student graduate and change his/her life and the life of his/her family. Seriously, that is incredible.
Do you really want to go there? I mean like, really go there? Then charge several classes and departments with taking 1 day’s recyclable materials and doing something with it — making art, building something — Oh I know (oh this is a good one) host a sustainable dinner made from JCCC discarded food. I’m talking cookies and stuff from meetings, food from all our dining venues, vending machine castoffs — all that kind of stuff. It has to be a really delicious dinner prepared by Chef Tim and not some sort of Charlie Brown Thanksgiving dinner of popcorn, pretzel sticks and toast. Invite the Board to this dinner along with some of our students and community members. We throw away lots of usable food. Isn’t SIFE wanting to create a food pantry? Get them in on this. I’m sure some of the food we discard can be stored for a short time, at least long enough to get it to a JCCC student or employee who needs it.
Here’s another big one — JCCC brown out. No electricity for one day. I mean, obviously the food preparation will need it as will some places like the math lab and some classrooms that don’t have any natural light. During the brown out, have lots of activities outdoors on sustainability.
I know I’m suggesting big gimmick-type stuff but those things create opportunities to 1) get media attention 2) get attention from those on the fringe 3) spotlight the work that is already being done 4) present areas we want/need to explore 5) allow individuals to opt out. We’re not going to force anyone to participate but they will have to CHOOSE to not to do so.
I used to be an HIV/AIDS street outreach worker. I was charged with getting people to stop practicing risky behavior. Clearly, I couldn’t make them stop. However once I presented the information, they were no longer ignorant of the situation. Even if they made the choice to continue the risky behavior, they couldn’t unlearn what I told them. That’s what these big events do even though they’re gimmicky and stuff. They help move people along the continuum and at the very least, it creates a point of access to information.