Sustainability Sets University Record in Recycling

move in recycle infographic FTWBy Rae Jefferson

Baylor’s Sustainability Department has hailed the 2013 “Move 2 BU” a success. Smith Getterman, assistant director of sustainability and special projects, reported that his department helped recycle more than 32,000 pounds of materials during the 48-hour period.

“We recycled 16.24 tons, which is a new university record,” Getterman said. “It’s a huge achievement.”

Last year’s move-in also exceeded previously achieved numbers in recycling, with roughly 24,000 pounds of materials collected over the course of two days. That record was broken by more than four tons during 2013 move-in.

Getterman explained the magnitude of Baylor’s sustainability success.

“In 2007, there were two or three months when we didn’t even recycle 16 tons, so we did in two days what we used to do in a couple of months,” he said.

According to Getterman, the program’s performance has dramatically improved during the last five years, with students becoming more aware of the Sustainability Department’s presence on campus.

More than 150 students from three organizations volunteered with the department. Entrepreneurship Engaged Learning Group, Chi Omega and Delta Delta Delta each contributed student volunteers. Participants were responsible for gathering, collapsing and recycling boxes as students moved into dorms.

Delta Delta Delta volunteered for the second consecutive year,contributing about 40 girls to North Russell and Collins Residence Halls.

Colleyville senior Madeline French, who is the organization’s volunteer coordinator, said the experience gave her a new perspective on caring for the earth.

“I really enjoy Smith’s vision and passion for sustainability,” she said. “God calls us to take care of His creation. It feels really cool that we were able to help move in.”

The presence of student volunteers on behalf of the Sustainability Department allowed incoming students to learn about Baylor’s green initiatives.
“It was cool to introduce freshmen to that concept,” French said.

The program’s volunteers were also exposed to campus efforts at green living. French said students were reminded of “practical” ways to recycle.
“People just don’t think about recycling – using the recyclable containers at dining halls or using the water bottle fountains at the SLC,” French said.

Setting university records through the department is important to the core values of Baylor.
“Our mission is to educate the campus community – faculty, staff, students, alumni – about caring for God’s creation and why, as Christians, it’s an important mission,” Getterman said.

Baylor Sustainability’s recycling webpage describes recycling as “one of the easiest, and most apparent, of many sustainable acts in our campus community.” The department encourages students to recycle as many materials as possible, which includes white and colored paper, cardboard, aluminum cans, plastic bottles and glass, in certain locations.

The department also provides interested students and organizations with volunteer opportunities through pre-game tailgate and move-in recycling efforts.