Chapter 19
Involving Students, Faculty, and Staff

A college campus is an optimal place for a waste management effort. Besides generating of multitude of materials, it is a microcosm of office, industrial, and commercial entities. An educational institution also has the benefit of being an enclosed community with internal communication networks and a variety of resources not typically available in these other sectors.  These resources are the campus community itself.   

Creating alliances and giving people the opportunity to make a difference in a school and workplace setting is invaluable. Besides involving people and creating communication networks, it is important to integrate recycling and waste reduction practices into every aspect of campus daily life. Communication, offering academic experiences, and maintaining high quality customer service are some of the important aspects of campus community involvement. Gathering information from the campus population is also an important tool in assessing program needs.

Including recycling program information in all new student and employee orientations and issuing recycling collection containers and refillable mugs to new students and employees are important strategies in building and sustaining a college recycling effort. There are many opportunities to involve the campus community in numerous aspects of a college waste reduction and recycling effort while integrating it into the mission of the university.

Student employees are an excellent resource on a college campus. They are in school to learn and a job in a college recycling program provides them with real-life experience in environmental coordination and program management. Students also provide an inexpensive labor force, especially when hiring work study funded student employees. They are also enthusiastic about doing something that makes a difference. Students often seek out volunteer and internship opportunities that will earn them academic credit. Campus Recycling has a wealth of opportunities for engaging students in amazing projects. Some ways students can get involved include: working on PR campaigns, spearheading grassroots efforts to draw attention to an issue, assisting with event recycling efforts, performing research and analysis, conducting surveys, and building educational displays. The possibilities are endless.

Make sure to include commuter, masters, and doctoral students as well. The institution probably has special ways to communicate with them. Masters and doctoral students may interact with the program in the same way that faculty or staff would.   

With the expansive curriculum at colleges, there are endless opportunities to integrate environmentally focused projects into course study. Many professors offer a large portion of a term grade based upon a term project or research paper. These requirements usually encourage on-campus projects. Identify possible projects and find a professor who can propose these to student or a class. Possibilities for productive projects benefit college recycling programs and involve anything from creating a business plan to launching advertising campaigns. The beauty of a college campus is that there are many opportunities to access quality input from talented faculty members who are also in a position to motivate students.         

The faculty also make-up an influential part of the campus community and can serve as allies for development and support of a campus recycling effort. Building alliances with faculty can create advocacy for many aspects of a campus recycling program including encouraging recycling and waste reduction practices within faculty offices and departments. College faculty members are large waste generators and an important group to involve in a recycling effort.

Faculty members are also influential in implementing recycling and waste prevention strategies in the classroom. Presenting to classes is also another mechanism for educating the campus community. Instructors are usually amenable to class presentations or quick announcements in classes. Let faculty know about the many opportunities that a college recycling program can offer to enhance the educational experience.                     

Remember, these are the folks who are part of a world outside of campus. They take that knowledge and help to build and continue these efforts in their homes, among their families, and in the greater community. Not only are they an invaluable resource, but a college recycling program also becomes their resource for building a better world. Do not forget to let them know...THANKS FOR RECYCLING!

Every college has a large population of staff that is involved in every aspect of waste generation.  These folks interface with the campus community in various capacities from one-on-one interactions to having communication accessibility with the entire campus. The staff often is the group that is directly involved with departmental management from purchasing to disposal. 

Building bridges with campus staff is critical to the effectiveness of a college recycling effort.  Establishing a communications network with staff is one of the most valuable tools for getting the word out to the campus community. With entire campuses on computer networks, it is easy to establish a listserv to post pertinent information about campus recycling efforts. These are the people on the front lines who can get the word out to students, faculty, and administrators. Establishing recycling contacts in each department to be on the listserv is another important mechanism in involving the campus. 

Remember, just like faculty members, staff members are an invaluable resource and part of a world outside of campus that they can influence with the knowledge they gain on campus. Their participation in recycling efforts is essential to building a better world. Remember to let them know…THANKS FOR RECYCLING!