The Sustainability Task Force do small things to help around the campus, such as turning 5,794 discarded candy wrappers, chip bags, and cell phones into $87.16 and 151 pounds of aluminum into $93, as well as making a podcast.
The STF is under the division for Student Affairs. The STF is working to chip away at the “Triple Bottom Line,” aiming to have a sustainable campus environmentally, economically and socially.
The STF recently hosted their first ever Sustainability Summit on campus Dec. 18, 2012.
Joshua Belice, West Woods area director and chair of STF, said, “This program has the potential to be a giant at Shepherd. Everyone can be a leader when it comes to sustainability; everyone can step up.”
Environmentally, the group is using such Web sites as Terracyle.com to aid in their effort to expand Shepherd’s recycling programs. They also use non-conventional recycling methods such as freecycling, or the free exchange of goods, and upcycling, which turns normally non-recyclable items such as drink pouches into usable items such as pencil bags and purses.
Aluminum was collected from April to November of last year. One hundred fifty-one pounds were recycled into $93.
Not all items that are placed in recycling bins can be recycled, though. They must be discarded if contaminated with certain types of material and other trash. The STF reminds students to always remember to appropriately separate what they are recycling.
The STF is also recycling the university’s ink cartridges at Office Max and reinvesting the funds for new office supplies. Currently there is no place for students to drop off their ink cartridges, but there is dialogue among the STF for setting up student cartridge drop off locations.
The new-age recycling goes further than just the environment. Terracycle.com turns the non-conventional recycled items into points that are converted into cash value for use in their store for upcycled items. Turning the university’s trash into money gives a new edge on combating economic challenges. Shepherd has upcycled trash into $87 so far.
Josh Oster, a junior English major, said, “It is much better to turn it in to something useable than letting it sit and rot in a landfill. I think it is great to be doing this on campus.”
There can be no progress without people, however. The third aspect to the STF’s bottom line is socially protecting workers and the community to give way to a sustainable populace for a sustainable world.
The STF encourages students to get involved. Students can also add the Wellness site on Sakai, on which there is a podcast pertaining to the environment and wellness.
Summer Williams, service learning coordinator for Shepherd, feels that “it is our responsibility as students, faculty and staff to create a sustainable environment in which we live and work,” and it is “a great way to learn about local sustainability efforts while taking a personal stake in our local neighborhood.”
All students are invited to attend the next Summit on Feb. 1 at the lower Dining Hall or the next STF meeting Feb. 14 at 10 a.m. in the Potomac Room of the Student Center.