Members of ACS and Con­ser­vation Club at the recy­cling drive. Sophie Reynolds | Courtesy

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.”