Fall 2011 –
Miami University’s campus has a lot to offer environmentally friendly students. When walking into a classroom, dining hall, or even a student’s very own residence hall room, an abundance of bins with the infamous recycling symbol can be found for any student’s personal use. The Division of Environmental Services provides facts proving the average person does not always consider the amount of food still left on their tray after lunch, the amount of papers they use and waste on school assignments, or the amount of water bottles they throw away daily. While one piece of paper in the trashcan or one water bottle thrown away in a dumpster may not occur to you as necessarily destroying the environment, every little bit of recycling can help. Miami students do not know much about on-campus recycling. “We have a recycling bin for water bottles in our room and I know there are recycling bins around campus, but other than that I’m not really sure what else Miami offers,” said Miami sophomore Nellie Dankmeyer. “I use the recycling bins as much as I can, but sometimes I forget and just use the first bin I see without necessarily paying attention,” she said.
Dave Smith, a Miami graduate student currently in charge of the environmental coordination on campus is passionate about recycling.
“Being an alumni and having had attended Miami as a student myself has inspired me in a way, but also it’s a personal interest,” Smith said. “I want to improve the environmental issues here especially with recycling and energy efficiency, like food composting which is part of our big plans for the future. We are hoping for food composting by the year 2013.” Since being head of Miami’s recycling coordination, Smith is proud to admit that he has already seen improvement in the environmentally friendly aspects of Miami. “I have definitely seen a slight improvement,” he said. “Since I have been in charge of the environmental coordination I have started a cell phone and toner cartridge recycling program. An “America Recycles Day” has also been established on Miami’s campus.”
America Recycles Day was created by a non-profit organization with a goal to keep America beautiful. A 10-year tradition, this day of green takes place on the November 15 each year.
“I don’t think anyone used to do anything like that before. I am also really happy about the improvement in the recycling at sporting events. It is no longer only provided at football games,” said Smith.
Unfortunately, students are not always as aware of the environmentally friendly recycling features offered at Miami.
“I think students take it for granted. A lot of students maybe are not aware or do not care that the bins are just for recycling. We notice a lot of contamination of garbage in the recycling bin,” said Smith. The university makes a decent amount of money off the recycling, and takes the time to sort the garbage from the recyclables, which in return hurts the university’s recycling revenue. “Miami University makes a profit of around $28,000 a year. This money goes back into the school through improvements in buildings and funding for maintenance,” said Smith.
Smith encourages students to expand their knowledge of recycling on their campus, and to help save the environment that is their home. “In their practical, everyday lives, students can use a Brita filter instead of buying bottled water. Not all bottles get recycled due to students not recycling. They can use less paper if they do not need to print something, and can choose to print double sided. Also, trying to buy all products that can be recycled such as recyclable packaging products,” said Smith on what students could start doing to increase the efficiency of a green Miami campus through the use of recycling.
Recycling does not stop with recycling bins around campus. Students may not be aware of Uptown’s very own SoHi being a green restaurant. SoHi’s director of operations, Robert Creager, offers some educational information on SoHi’s efforts to support Miami being a green campus.
“We have been green ever since we opened in June of 2010,” Creager said. “We use corn-based cups and silver-wear, as well as other recycled materials in our restaurant.”
Corn-based materials are manufactured from cornstarch. Cornstarch is a renewable resource, biodegradable, inexpensive, and does not emit toxic fumes if incinerated.
“However, to be honest, I think students could care less about SoHi’s efforts to help the environment. We are looking at expanding and improving our environmentally friendly atmosphere, but do not have any set plans yet,” said Creager. SoHi is in the works to increase their environmentally aspects of the restaurant by converting more products to recyclable material.
Miami is making efforts and thinking ahead for their future. Miami freshman, Alex Windsor, is supportive of the increasing efforts.
“I have always recycled at home and support everything Miami is doing,” she emphasized. “I take full advantage of the recycle bins and hope everyone else starts to care about it as much as I do. I would for sure like to see a food compost on campus. It kills me to see how much food is wasted in our dining halls.”
Smith is definitely hopeful for food compost on campus by the ideal year of 2013. “We hope Miami students begin to take advantage of the recycling products their campus offers and realize what a difference they can make,” said Smith.
By: Madigan McGovern