For TCU students, destroying the environment and trashing valuable resources isn’t merely a bad habit – it’s a way of life.But how can one blame them when the university itself fails to implement a successful recycling program, or at the very least, make students aware that recycling actually does exist on campus?
It is perplexing to realize that this campus is the same one that, in 1990, won a Clean Cities “Good Neighbor” Award for recycling, according to a recent Skiff article. Now the university doesn’t even come close to such a standing.
Of course, TCU could more rapidly go back to its days of award-winning environmental friendliness if there were more student involvement, but a proper recycling service shouldn’t have to be demanded. It should be supplied.
Many students do not even know that recycling facilities are available in their dorms because they have never been informed of the availability of such a resource. Additionally, recycling receptacles are often not in a convenient or visible location.
I went an entire semester without realizing there were recycling bins in my residence hall.
“I know where (the bins) are, but no one really uses them,” freshman history major Jared Ewing said. “Most people don’t know they are there. They’re not really advertised.”
Rumor has it, because students have not been producing enough recyclables in the dorms, housekeepers have actually not bothered with the recycling, but instead simply thrown it in the dumpsters.
“I was told by the housekeepers not to put anything in the recycling bins because it was not being picked up anymore, so we were no longer recycling,” sophomore athletic training major Sean Hill said.
But this is not TCU policy.
“The housekeepers are instructed not to throw away the recycling, and we pay waste management to pick it up every Wednesday at noon,” said sophomore Austin Uebele, the chairman of University Affairs.
Although the university falls short of supplying an adequate recycling program, it would be inaccurate to hold TCU entirely at fault. The students are also to blame for the university’s environmentally apathetic outlook.
The Skiff article mentioned above stated that Dining Services used to put a recycling plan into practice, but because students demonstrated such little participation in the program, it had to be put to an end. In that situation, it would have been just as easy for students to recycle as it would for them to throw their recyclables in the trash.
Fortunately for the future of TCU, a silver lining does exist. Despite the overwhelming disregard for the environment present on campus, one student is dedicated to making positive changes.
Uebele, a psychology major, has taken the issue of recycling under his wing. By next fall, Uebele plans to have recycling bins placed in every dorm room, as well as in the academic and administrative buildings. There is an educational component to the campaign as well – RAs will be informing their residents about the importance of recycling.
“Nothing has changed as of right now. It’s all still in the process, but we’ve worked out everything behind the scenes,” Uebele said. “We’re just waiting to have a meeting with Residential Services. We’ve already met with the Physical Plant and approved everything with waste management, and we have funding secured.”
If it wer not for the initiative taken by Uebele, efforts to promote on-campus recycling would be virtually nonexistent. However, because of the magnitude of this project, it requires participation on a much larger scale. Students and administrators need not only support this effort, but also actively involve themselves in it.
“No one was doing it, so I just stepped up to the plate and took on the project myself,” Uebele said. “If TCU does not worry about conservation and being, at least, a semi-progressive university, we will never create persons truly capable of being ethical leaders and responsible citizens.”
Jordan Cohen is a freshman English major from Lewisville, N.C.