All around campus there are bins for pop cans, papers and plastic bottles. These are the equipment of the recycling program of Northwestern College. However, due to lack of involvement by the student body, this recycling program is in danger of being abolished next year.
Usually these recycling bins are filled with recyclable materials. The cans on various wings in the dorms are collected by the Resident Assistants and cashed in for money for wing functions. The paper products are brought to a company where they are shredded. In the past, the shredded paper has been used for animal bedding. In VPH, the recyclables are collected by the SOS teams as a part of their fundraising. However, not enough people are recycling to make this program worthwhile.
Kelley Downer, president of Terra Nova, says the recycling program isn’t cost efficient and might be dropped after this year. “The biggest thing,” said Downer, “is trying to get people to care about it.” Downer has studied on the West Coast, where recycling is commonplace. She finds her passion in caring for the world God gave us because, as she puts it, “no one else will.”
According to Downer, one of the major problems is the attitude of the students towards the recycling program. The bins that are meant for recycling are being used for trash like bananas and pizza.
Also, the organization of the program causes some confusion. The maintenance crew isn’t responsible for any of the recycling. It’s completely a student-run program. With several different organizations collecting recycling at once, it becomes hard to know where the products or the money is going.
Terra Nova, the Student Government, the Student Activities Center and the Business Club, SIFE, are all working together to come up with a better way to organize this program. Also, Terra Nova, Dr. Bruce Murphy and Eric Anderson have a plan to keep the recycling program, but they need more student support.
“The more students get involved, the better the program gets,” says Stephanie Brindle, the recycling coordinator for Terra Nova. Her goal for this year and next year is to encourage people and raise awareness about the program.
Terra Nova also looks at this program from a Christian point of view. Colossians 1:16 says, “For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him.”
Downer expands on that idea, saying that earth was made “by him, for him, not by him, for me.” She is encouraged that stewardship is a Biblical virtue.
Terra Nova already has ideas to get people involved in the recycling program next year. Some of these ideas include a recycling fashion show and an island of trash much like New York has.
Terra Nova hopes educate incoming freshmen and students during Orientation about the recycling program and the benefits of it. Brindle would also like suggestions from students on how the recycling program could be improved.
Downer and Brindle are confident that the recycling program can be continued with a little organization and some participation from NW students. “Whatever reason people have for not recycling isn’t a real reason,” said Downer.