SGA Director of Environmental Affairs Updates University Senate on Recycling Efforts

At the February meeting of the University Senate Resources, Planning, and Institutional Policy Committee (RPIPC) meeting, Student Government Association (SGA) Director of Environmental Affairs Paul Murray presented an informative and thought-provoking update on the GC Recycling Program.  Paul shared information from his recent conversations with Campus Life, University Housing, the Dean of Students, and the Sustainability Council.  Following a campus waste audit in November, Paul was able to make certain recommendations to RPIPC.  The committee reported back several excellent suggestions and ideas.

Perhaps the main recommendation is to provide more support to Facilities Operations to eliminate problems from our current implementation.  Paul believes that Facilities Operations should  have additional staff, perhaps a Recycling Coordinator, to promote and increase recycling.  We would benefit by having training for staff, students, and faculty on how to recycle and why it is beneficial to our campus community.  Paul suggests that we continue a ‘top-down’ approach, from the President’s Office, echoed by multiple administrators and officers.  There should be positive incentives for reducing waste and cutting costs, which one day might accumulate to provide funding for student scholarships and help pay for any additional staffing required to accomplish our goals.

Georgia College is currently taking part in Recyclemania, a two-month competition between universities across the continent.  Our reporting has been sporadic because of problems we have with quantifying waste and recycling, as well as a lack of a designated Recycling Coordinator.  Our peer institutions have achieved much greater success with their recycling reporting.

The members of RPIPC offered many excellent suggestions and ideas, including:

  • Provide information kiosks near recycling bins so that members of the campus community can see how we are doing
  • Involve more student workers to promote and carry out recycling
  • Dedicate substantial attention to recycling education in housing and academic programs
  • Create a competitive spirit for recycling, including prizes for the residence halls or student organizations that contribute the most
  • Identify external funding to create a recycling institute that serves the campus and the community, as a part of ENGAGE or other programs
  • Tour successful recycling operations at nearby universities, such as University of Georgia, Georgia Tech, and Emory University

For additional information on recycling at Georgia College, please refer to the Sustainability Council web site for recycling.

Published by Doug R. Oetter

Professor of Geography at Georgia College & State University.

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