Some might say recycling at Ferris State University is mediocre at best, though efforts are being made to create a more environmentally-friendly campus.
According to Abby Booms, president of the Bulldog Sustainability Alliance, one of the reasons for this deficit is a lack of resources; the school’s recycling program just isn’t one of Ferris’s highest priorities right now. This sentiment was echoed by Chris Luchies, supervisor at Recycle of Mecosta County, which has a partnership with Ferris.
“I’m told that Ferris is one of the few schools in Michigan that doesn’t have a sustainable recycling program set up within their dorms. I think it’s got to be driven by the administrative side of [the university],” said Luchies.
Pick-up locations for recyclables are only at Ferris’s dining halls—The Rock Café and West Side Café—and other dining facilities on campus, such as Starbucks and the Between Chapters Café in the FLITE library. There are also places for students living in the East Campus Suites and West Campus Apartments to drop off their recyclables. A truck from Recycle of Mecosta County makes rounds to these locations six days per week.
Recycle of Mecosta County also has an open-door policy with Ferris, allowing students and faculty to drop off their recyclables. The facilities are located on 424 N. 4th Street and are open from nine until eleven am on Mondays, three until five thirty pm on Thursdays, and nine am until one pm on Saturdays. The FLITE library is one place on campus that makes use of the open-door policy. According to Leah Monger, Department Head of Digital Support Services, the library uses a “guillotine-like contraption” to cut the binding off of outdated books before sending the books to be recycled.
Though Recycle of Mecosta County is staffed mainly by volunteers, they have a few paid employees who are mostly work-study students at Ferris, such as Patrick King, who is a junior journalism major.
“What I like about working at the recycling company is that it works around my schedule very nicely,” said Peters. “Chris understands that college is a huge priority and is more than happy to work around that.”
Recycle of Mecosta County is off-campus, but there are also efforts on-campus to combat the lack of recycling. The Bulldog Sustainability Alliance led by Booms holds recycling events in the IRC and an annual Earth Day event. Booms suggests that students can lead a more “green” lifestyle by following the “Three R’s: Reduce, reuse, recycle. Reduce the amount of water you use washing dishes or taking a shower. Reduce the amount of plastic products you use. Reuse. Reuse butter containers for leftovers. Reuse a larger plastic bottle instead of constantly buying a new one. Buy a refillable bottle for drinking water. Recycle. Once a product can no longer be used safely, recycle it. There are three recycling receptacles on campus that students can utilize: East Campus Suites parking lot, behind the Rock, and West Campus.”
Booms understands the lack of motivation to recycle, especially with the limited resources on campus. The reason she first joined the group was to fulfill the Honors Program’s RSO requirement.
“At the time, I wasn’t a recycler,” she said. “We don’t have that much recycling at home. We don’t have a huge facility where we can take recycling. In the last four years, however, recycling has become a part of my life.” Booms has become more conscientious about which items should be recycled or thrown away and has even influenced her family to make more eco-friendly choices. She and her organization are always trying to find new ways to educate others—especially the student population—on the importance of recycling.
The Bulldog Sustainability Alliance extends an invitation for students to attend their meetings every other Tuesday at eleven AM in FLITE room two fourteen. Their first recycling event is October 2nd from eleven am to five pm in the IRC and they encourage students to stop by their table tonight (September 17th) at Bulldog Bonanza.
Anyone wishing to learn more about the Bulldog Sustainability Alliance can email email@example.com or contact Booms personally at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Recycle of Mecosta County, visit their website at www.recyclemecosta.org.