When asked “who are the Dickinson College Eco-Reps?” the popular opinion on campus is “that one kid who takes the compost out in my dorm, right?” Wrong. Eco Reps are so much more.
The Eco Rep program highlights empowered and educated individuals striving to become peer educators across campus. Get lost there? Not a problem. This year The Center For Sustainability Education is rolling out a new program for the Eco-Reps; reinventing the way the campus views the volunteer habit changers. As part of the program, “Eco-Reps” now encompasses students, faculty, staff, clubs, organizations, special interest housing, offices, sports, etc. It is a no-brainer. The mission of the program is to try and educate the campus on sustainable practices in an attempt to change habits, why not create an inclusive environment for anyone with a green bone in their body to become an empowered leader?
The program is two months in and Dickinson is responding well. A series of lectures have replaced mundane meetings notorious for sucking the fun and motivation out of the passionate student body. These lectures are titled the “Sustain It” workshops and highlight frequently asked questions, misconceptions, and even help students turn programming into effective campus climate changers. Our first workshop was on October 21st and was titled “Single Steam Recycling: The Whole Story” helping Eco Reps AND non-Eco-Reps understand where the recycling goes and the process Dickinson is tied into.
What is Single Stream Recycling, Dickinson asks? You know in the HUB how there are different sized slots in the recycling bins, one for paper, plastic, glass? Single Stream Recycling says that the material does not matter for it all goes to the same facility! Those traces of food in the bottom of the parfait container? No worries the facility we partner with is sophisticated enough to overcome the left over gunk. We learned in the workshop that the waste goes from Dickinson’s facilities (when the large bin is full) to Waste Management in York, PA or Waste Management in Philadelphia, PA. From here the materials are sorted and then sold on the recyclables market, nifty.
Cardboard is a different story. When collected and broken down the corrugated cardboard is taken to Project S.H.A.R.E., a local food pantry, where is it bailed and sold on the market. Profits are then used to buy food for the pantry and waste is turned into a way to alleviate the stress of poverty on the community.
Second guessing what you can and can’t recycle, we can help you there as well.
The campus is well postered and on these posters/ stickers it is outlined what should go in the bin. This applies to composting as well. While Eco-Reps should not be known for being the kids who take the compost out, it is still one of their responsibilities. Composting is BIG on campus, with all the collected food waste being transported to the Dickinson Farm for compost.
With all this information now at the hands of those who attended the meeting (and you by extension), where do we go from here? The audience was asked to answer reflection questions and come up with personal goals for spreading the word. The community members came up with some clever ways to address the problems with education such as “Educate First-Years through mandatory orientation workshops,” “Educate R.A. staff and other members with influence,” “Personally become an active advocate.” All fantastic action statements to hear from a newly empowered audience.
In conclusion, the next workshop will highlight how to program in a way that leads to action and will be held on the November 8th in Kaufman 178. Swing by and join the movement.
Here is a link to the powerpoint from the presentation, check it out: