The Daily Gamecock

Recycling fair promotes sustainability initiatives

Several student organizations gather in support of USC’s Recyclemania team, which trails Clemson

Representatives from several campus organizations gathered on the Russell House patio Wednesday for a Recycling Information Fair hosted by the West (Green) Quad Learning Center and USC’s RecycleMania team.

The fair, which ran from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., marked the second week of USC’s participation in the 2011 RecycleMania Tournament, a nationwide competition among college campuses to see which school has the highest recycling rate. Members of Outdoor Recreation, NET Impact, Students Advocating a Greener Environment and the Connect by Hertz program set up information tables to highlight their organizations’ solutions to material and energy waste on campus. Green Quad Learning Center also sponsored a board with recycling tips, and students were able to test their own knowledge about recyclable materials.

“This is our visual presence on campus,” RecycleMania team manager and second-year anthropology student Christine Burke said. “We’re trying to get people as aware as possible of ways to recycle.”

According to University Housing Coordinator for Environmental Sustainability Margaret Bounds, USC is behind in the RecycleMania race. Last week, Carolina ranked 157 out of 193 schools during the trial week at a recycle rate (amount recycled over total waste) of 17.74 percent, while Clemson ranked 36 at a 43.57 percent recycle rate. Bounds emphasized the importance of reducing overall consumption in order to move up in the competition.  

“Reducing waste is key to getting our recycling rate up,” Bounds said. “In addition to recycling, we need to throw away less waste in general — that might mean getting less takeout at Russell House.”

First-year broadcast journalism student Joshua Lloyd, a resident of the Roost, stopped by the fair to learn more about ways to get involved in campus sustainability. He believes that while most students are concerned about recycling, more should be done to increase communication about sustainability.

“Students just need to be more globally aware,” Lloyd said. “I think our school could use more events like these; they really help. I already recycle a lot just because it’s pretty convenient in our dorms to use bins, but it would also be good if the campus did more with surplus food.”

Some of the unique environmental efforts featured at the fair were OREC’s carbon-neutral initiative to plant trees on campus to offset its carbon footprint, USC transportation’s shared car rental program with Hertz, NET Impact’s plan to monitor student newspaper deliveries in order to save paper and sign-ups for a USC Sustainability Committee. Graduate political science student Joe Chang, a Green Quad employee and member of the RecycleMania team, was impressed with the diversity of green initiatives on campus. Chang said he hopes students will continue to keep recycling and waste reduction in mind, even long after the competition ends.

“Sustainability has a lot of prospects on campus; I’m glad to see we have so many different projects going on,” Chang said. “We’re working to make USC a sustainable university one step at a time. Recycling shouldn’t just be this far-off goal to reach; it should be part of life on campus.”