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BREAK IN THE CHAIN: Campus recycling efforts void of initiative, collaboration

“We recycle?” Luis Valdes, junior, said when asked about his thoughts on the recycling program.

Many UM students share this reaction. The recycling program on campus is, in the minds of students, lacking in presence. Save maybe one or two bins in the library for paper, which are essentially utilized by the library staff, recycling is not very visible at UM.

With the importance of recycling being stressed in all aspects of life, why is it that UM is having problems with its own recycling program? As far as many students are concerned, recycling on campus is nearly non-existent.

“I think that it’s really sad that UM lacks in recycling,” Vanja Majkic, junior, said. “I don’t remember putting any cans in the recycling bins because I can never find any. All of the cans end up in the regular trash. UM really needs to do something about this.”

There’s no question as to whether there is a recycling program at UM. The main problem, however, is exactly how effective it is, and how much effort and money the University spends, or is willing to spend, on it.

The fact remains that the majority of the student body does not know about the few recycling bins placed around campus. This displays that efforts might need to be made to reinforce the recycling program and spread the word of its existence.

The University claims to be doing something about it.

UNICCO, the company contracted to handle janitorial and waste-management services, including the recycling program, claims to have placed recycling bins in at least seven of UM’s academic schools.

Irving Kohen, former director of UM’s recycling program, refused to answer any questions about the program.

According to Alan Weber, associate director for Facilities Administration, the reason that the recycling program at UM has not made any advancement is that students do not effectively utilize the facilities provided.

“[During] a trial system for the last year in Eaton. . . people threw trash into the recycling-only bins,” Weber said. He added that un-recyclable waxed cardboard, used for carrying frozen foods, is often thrown into the bin for recycled cardboard.

In response to this, according to Weber, UNICCO is making plans to print a brochure that will be given out to students stating what UNICCO does at the University, outlining its strengths and weaknesses. Weber also stated that UNICCO is looking into putting in a compressor in Hecht and Stanford Towers where students could discard their recyclable wastes in the near future.

When asked how much funding was going into UM’s recycling program, Weber responded, “Actually, I don’t think it’s my place to tell you. I think you are going to have to contact one of the higher level associates to tell you.”

Meanwhile, other universities have these numbers displayed on their school websites.

UM’s recycling program is not as extensive as that of some other universities. At Boston College, for example, recycling bins can be found almost everywhere, from the residence halls to the athletic facilities. The college system has a bin for recycling paper goods, such as magazines and newspapers, and another for plastic, metal and glass containers. They also have a system for recycling old batteries, which cannot be recycled with everything else.

To take recycling a step further, Boston College has a page on its website dedicated to helping the students and faculty recycle. The page includes charts specifying designated recycling areas where the bins can be found, what materials go into which bin and the schedule for pickup times. A link that presents updated recycling statistics of the school is also provided to encourage students to continue recycling.

Harvard University School of Public Health [HSPH] spent more than $30,000 to improve its recycling program in 2001, of which $9,000 went towards the purchase of more recycling bins.

According to the HSPH website, “on every floor of every building in the main HSPH complex, there are bins for batteries, cans, glass and plastic bottles, and plastics. In addition, bins marked ‘White Paper Only’ in offices. . . now accept mixed paper.”

The Hurricane will continue to follow up on any new developments in UM’s recycling program.

Christine Dominguez can be contacted at c.dominguez3@umiami.edu.

Vanessa Krause can be contacted at v.krause@umiami.edu.

By Minal Ahson

News Reporter

This past week, high school students accompanying UM students was a common sight around campus. Hurricane for a Day, a new program implemented by Student Government [SG], began last Monday. Students accepted to UM Early Decision were invited to shadow a student leader for a day to experience the life of a UM student.

The program was sparked by an idea from the SG Executive Board, who wanted to use the program as a strong recruiting tool. Initially, the idea was to invite top prospective students who had not yet decided where they wanted to go to school. It was eventually decided that Early Decision applicants [who had already decided to come to UM]would be the group invited to participate.

The effort was spearheaded by Billy Bludgus, chief of staff external SG. “I was confident that if we showed these students what we’re about, they would choose UM,” Bludgus said.

Program organizers also mentioned that in order for UM to move into the top tier of universities, top students must be attracted.

“Our University always talks about how we are improving over other Universities,” Scott Sadowski, SG President, said. “I feel that this program is a prime example of us going the extra mile to help students experience Miami.”

The list of students accepted Early Decision was provided by the Office of Admissions. Student Government then sent letters to the students, inviting them to come to campus this week. Overall, 234 students were invited and approximately 60 are participating. Of these 60 students, about 25 percent are from out of town. Some students even flew in to be a part of the program.

Students spend one day on campus, with hosts meeting them in the morning, taking them to class, lunch, and maybe a few meetings in between. Special overnight accommodations have been made for students flying in from out of town. Student leaders, mainly from the different parts of SG, volunteered to act as hosts.

“The response from students willing to act as hosts has been overwhelming.” Bludgus said. “The participants really enjoyed their visit due to the efforts on the part of the student hosts.”

At the end of the week, the SG Executive Board will gather feedback and determine whether the program is feasible financially and logistically. The next goal is to invite prospective students who have applied Early Action, and are not bound to matriculating at UM. This program could be implemented as early as later this semester.

Minal Ahson can be contacted at m.ahson@umiami.edu.

February 3, 2004

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.