Law and Teachers Colleges demonstrate grassroots recycling initiatives
When you think of sustainability, you think of recycling. It’s an easy way to reduce landfill waste and help your environmental footprint. However, at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, there is no official recycling program within academic college buildings. Two buildings on UNL’s campus decided to address that problem head on with dedicated students and faculty.
At the College of Law, housed in McCollum Hall on East Campus, a group of volunteers takes care of the recycling every week. Anthony Shultz, an agricultural law professor, volunteered for the program about eight years ago. Along with two or three other faculty, Shultz goes through the staff offices and picks up recycling bins once a week. He said as long as the faculty put their bins out of their offices, the recycling gets done.
“The University never told us we needed to do it,” Shultz said. “It was more of, ‘Hey we’re the Law School and we want to recycle stuff and reduce our waste. What can we do about it?’”
Students from the Environmental and Agricultural Law Society take care of the classrooms and common areas. They sign up every week to collect aluminum, paper, and plastics. Shultz said that it makes sense for the students and faculty to pick up recycling separately.
“The faculty takes care of their things and the students takes care of theirs, and we get it all done, ” Shultz said.
The College of Law generates a lot of paper through drafts, books, and other work. Because a few individuals spend an hour every week, all of that paper is recycled.
“Most people aren’t anti-recycling, they just don’t have the opportunity to do it,” Shultz said. “If you give them that opportunity, often they’ll go ahead and do it.”
In the College of Education and Human Sciences, housed in Henzlik Hall, Teachers College and able Lee Hall, a similar program helps to lower their environmental impact through recycling
Students in the CEHS ambassadors program noticed early on there were no recycling bins in the classrooms and pounds of paper were going to the landfill. The ambassadors sent a proposal to their dean to put recycling bins in all of the classrooms and offices. They volunteered to pick up the bins once a week and make sure people were utilizing them. The proposal passed and the recycling program was made.
Riley Naughton, the current recycling chair, said she took on the role last year because she thought it was a cool program and a good role to take on. She makes sure every ambassador completes their mandatory recycling shift every semester. They go around and collect the recucling from all three buildings once a week. Naughton said focusing on sustainability and instilling those values are important for the future.
“Even if we [recycle] subconsciously in a building, we’re instilling those values,” Naughton said. “If you go somewhere else and realize there’s no recycling, you might be able to find a way to do it.”