A recycling drive by the Conservation Club and American Chemical Society last Friday sought to promote sustainability and build support for a campus-wide recycling program.
The recycling drive held in the Formal Lounge, got students and faculty to divide their recycling into paper, aluminum, plastic, and trash to facilitate the recycling process.
“When we take it to recycling centers, things are recycled separately,” said Vice President of Hillsdale’s American Chemical Society Chapter and junior Sophie Reynolds. “If your recycling isn’t separated and you bring it to a facility, it will most likely get thrown away.”
The recycled trash was taken to Modern Waste Systems, a waste management facility on West Carleton Road.
“At this facility in particular, they don’t have people hired to search through bags and divide it,” said senior Crystal Schupbach, a Conservation Club board member. “So when you bring your recycling you have to put it in separate bins yourself.”
The main goal for the campus drive was to bring awareness to sustainability on campus.
“We’re trying to get students and different organizations involved in our recycling initiatives to be slightly more sustainable,” Reynolds said. “But our hope is for the school eventually to have an official recycling program, because the best way to be sustainable and to make that part of your lifestyle is to make it more convenient and efficient.”
Reynolds said she is surprised that Hillsdale doesn’t have a recycling program.
“I do think it is very odd that we are a college that has a lot of resources and we don’t have any recycling, so we’re trying to do what we can,” Reynolds said.
Christopher Hamilton, professor of chemistry and faculty advisor for the Hillsdale College Chapter of the American Chemical Society said that the drive was a way for ACS to give back to campus.
“We have had bins all over campus and we weren’t able to maintain those,” Hamilton said. “And because we don’t have a campus recycling program, this is a way for students, faculty, and staff to help take care of some of that waste that has been sitting in their offices or dorm rooms.”
When asked about establishing a recycling program, Hamilton said it would be great if there was something more organized on campus.
“I think for certain things that are easily recyclable like aluminum, it makes a lot of economic sense to try to recycle it and keep it out of landfills,” he said.
Hamilton noted that multiple alumni have reached out to him and expressed their concern that there is no recycling program on campus.
Schupbach echoed this sentiment, saying that “something like recycling should just go along with garbage pickup.”
Reynolds said that although previous Conversation Club presidents have reached out to the administration about establishing a recycling program in years past, “there’s been no response or openness to it by the administration.”
For students wanting to get involved, the best thing they can do is talk about it.
“More conversation about sustainability and recycling can help the culture change to a way that’s more friendly to recycling at Hillsdale specifically,” Reynolds said. “So just being aware of and encouraging programs like this. Conservation Club also does trash pickups or things where we’re trying to be sustainable in a way that’s serving the community, so just getting involved in that.”
Schupbach agreed with Reynolds.
“The more people talk about it, the more people are going to say this is an issue that we need to solve,” Schupbach said. “Then people are going to be more receptive about wanting to do something about it on a larger scale.”
In Reynold’s words, “There’s a bigger conversation here that could be more productive.”