In the past year, St. John’s has dramatically increased its recycling efforts and taken a strong stance in the green movement to help protect and sustain the environment.
As a large university with on-campus housing and two large dining halls, the growing emphasis on recycling around St. John’s is not only a much-needed move, but also an environmentally responsible one.
Last spring, resident students saw blue and green plastic recycling bins adorn the hallways of the dorms in an effort to increase the recycling of cans, bottles, and paper.
In addition to residential buildings, almost every other building on campus saw special recycling stations appear for the collection of recyclables.
The distribution of these collection bins throughout the Residence Village and within administrative and academic buildings is a great feat for St. John’s recycling and environment sustainability program which, according to the St. John’s Web site, pledges to, “Integrate sustainability responsibilities into construction of new facilities, operation of existing facilities and working/learning activities.”
And now St. John’s is taking their efforts to a new level as they compete in Recyclemania, a national competition in which more than 400 colleges and universities compete for 10 weeks to improve their habits.
The program is aimed to promote waste reduction, and participating schools will shoot to report the “largest amount of recyclables per capita, the largest amount of total recyclables, the least amount of trash per capita, or have the highest recycling rate,” according to the Recyclemania Web site.
The program began in 2001 at Ohio University and Miami University. This year, the number of schools has doubled from last year’s 201 participants. This is an important program to acknowledge because of what it will be accomplishing long after the final day of competition.
Recyclemania is spreading awareness in the administrative offices of dining halls and bringing reform to campuses all across the country.
While the Recyclemania competition is new to St. John’s, the conservation and waste reduction effort is nothing new to Montgoris Dining Hall, which has been monitoring food waste and initiating programs to save food and water for years.
Many students on campus have expressed their delight in the recent efforts of Chartwells to help protect the environment, and rightfully so.
So with a newly-inspired spirit of conservation we should all do our best to support the Recyclemania movement. While some students are adamantly against trayless days and other Montgoris conservation reforms, there are still ways that we can help.
For example, avoid wasted food by not taking more than you really need. Efforts like this will amount to more conservation than the withholding of trays. If it’s not enough to change your habits for the good of the environment, then do it for those less fortunate who don’t have access to the extra food we waste so freely.
Overall, this initiative to protect the environment should not be overlooked. It’s not hard to rethink and restructure the simple ways we live in excess, and in becoming aware of our environmental footprints we can be less of a toxic force in the world.
The Recyclemania competition will run until March 28. For more information you can visit their Web site at recyclemaniacs.org.