by Jennifer Contreras
A new recycling program that aims to promote environmental awareness through recycling as well as conservation, has started at the University of La Verne.
Senior journalism major Nune Gazdhyan in collaboration with Professor of Biology and Biochemistry Jay Jones, Assistant Director of Facilities Management Robert Beebe and Safety Specialist Jeff Boster along with sponsorship from the Associated Students Federation (ASF) Forum, have worked to implement a system that is “simple” and “energy efficient.”
What started out as a project for Gazdhyan’s CORE 340 Ethno-Botany class, turned into a yearlong project on bringing the issue of recycling back to the ULV community. According to research done by Gazdhyan, ULV currently has a recycling program.
“I myself, was always under the impression, and because of what I heard from others, that ULV doesn’t recycle and that the bins we had were just for good educational practice. However, contrary to popular belief, ULV did recycle on a minimum level. That’s what I found out through my assessment of the University of La Verne recycling,” said Gazdhyan, “and once I found this out I decided to find out more. I spoke to Jeff Boster and he went around with me and we assessed all the different things that could possibly be recycled and are being recycled.”
Gazdhyan worked with Jones, Beebe and Boster to gain support and see a change in the current recycling system. ASF got involved when Gazdhyan sought out support and sponsorship toward the efforts. ASF gave the cause $500 to aide in the purchasing of new replacement bins in faculty offices for paper and cardboard. Four bins are located on First Street at the Operations Warehouse; the bins are for paper, cardboard, plastic and aluminum.
The way the new system works is that the new bins, which are for paper and cardboard, along with the old bins that separate aluminum, plastic, and newspaper, are handled by Housekeeping who separate the recyclables from the garbage because of distinct bags, beige bags for recyclables and white bags for garbage. Those bags then go to the bins in the warehouse and they are picked up by Alpine Recycling. The Grounds Crew is involved by taking cardboard and breaking it down to be put in the cardboard bin. The cardboard bin has seen the most success thus far.
“It doesn’t take a lot of effort,” said Jones.
Gazdhyan and Beebe have both expressed concerns for the waste situation in the residence halls, more specifically the Oaks. According to Beebe, the Oaks residents do not recycle and Stu-Han and Brandt recycle at a minimum level. However, he said he feels once students know that ULV recycles, that there will be a greater amount of recycling.
The process in getting the recycling initiative started was one that was long and thought out. The first step dealt with gaining support from President Stephen Morgan, who was more than willing to support and endorse the program, according to Gazdhyan.
The next step was concocting a Recycling Guideline Fact Sheet produced by Gazdhyan and Jones that went to faculty and staff. The fact sheet was informational on recycling, conservation and what people can do to conserve.
Along with this initiative, getting Boster and Beebe involved was essential to getting the four recycling bins on First Street. The four bins were obtained by negotiations between Beebe and Alpine Recycling. Previous to this initiative, Operations and Maintenance had two three-yard bins, one for cardboard and one for all other recyclables. After negotiations, the two old bins were removed and replaced with four six-yard bins.
Beebe and Operations have also purchased more sets of bins like the ones currently seen around campus. After they are placed, there will be one set of bins in just about all the buildings. Along with recycling; conservation is also a very important issue to Gazdhyan, Jones and Beebe.
“We want people to be aware of the fact that we recycle and that what we deem recyclable will really get recycled. But we need to do much, we need to promote conservation as well. We need to make people more aware of issues such as the energy crisis, which is a really big problem right now. That’s why we compiled the fact sheet, to bring about awareness,” said Gazdhyan.
Gazdhyan is working on getting the memo out to students. Beebe and the Operations Department are looking for ways to help with this initiative as well.
“We have put time clocks on the air conditioners, and we have set the air conditioners to 68 degrees for cooling and 78 degrees for heating. We are looking to install more motion sensors, but since they are so costly, it will take time.
“I have also been looking into getting something called a Vending Miser. It minimizes the energy consumption of the vending machines as well as shuts the machine off when there are no people within 40 feet of the machine,” said Beebe who is responsible for designing the structure of the system and overseeing the procedures.
According to Jones the recycling program that started at ULV some years ago, fell through due to a lack of structure.
“It worked for a while, it’s sort of like a highway, if you don’t maintain it, it falls apart. That’s essentially what happened, nobody was putting effort to make sure the procedures were maintained,” said Jones, “You can understand that if you’re on the housekeeping staff, and you come up to the waste bins and you see that there is trash in both recycling bins and waste bins, what are you going to do? You’re not going to sort them; it’s not really your job to do so. The structure was not well thought out, there were provisions made to make sure housekeeping had two bags.”
Gazdhyan expresses that she hopes that after she graduates, the recycling program will not lose support and fall through the cracks.
“Since I’m graduating, and since this issue is dear to me, I don’t want it to fall through. That is why I approached ASF, to gain mutual support for the program. We waste so much. Despite the fact that I’m pressed for time, I knew I had to see this through. I pretty much made time for this. I just hope that people don’t forget about recycling and conservation next year,” said Gazdhyan.
Gazdhyan, Beebe and Jones all feel that recycling and conservation is an important asset to ULV and the world. They feel that it is our responsibility to live up to the ULV mission statement on sustainability and make all efforts towards recycling and conservation.
“We can be quoted as a premier institution, private institution in the Inland Empire that is economically liable and performs a certain function or we can be an institution that really stands by what it says an doesn’t really do things in a lip-service way but to really make a commitment and to be outstanding and to be a leader and to really make things happen. That’s really the choice. Sustainability is already part of our mission and in order to be true to it we need to put it to action and this is a good example of how we can do that,” said Jones.