By Dane Chronister
The university’s Office of Sustainability helped break another record in university sustainability, a trend that has continued since 2006.
This past year, Baylor recycled a record-breaking 543.88 tons of material on campus. In previous years, the statistics have steadily been on an incline, reaching an all-time high last year.
“In just a few short years Baylor has really stepped up and shown its commitment to recycling,” said Heidi Marcum, senior lecturer in environmental science.
Smith Getterman, assistant director of sustainability and special projects, said Disney has been much of a model for the efforts that have gone into effect at Baylor.
Getterman said since Disney recycles close to 22 tons of material a day, the office researched their innovations in hopes of mimicking Disney’s results.
“Baylor as a university cares for God’s creation,” Getterman said. “I hope this will speak to other faith-based institutions.”
The program has also increased its engagement at Baylor by participating in a fifth season of recycling at home football games. This system began at Floyd Casey Stadium and has continued at McLane Stadium.
One of the main advantages of the new stadium, Getterman said, is that it was built for recycling and intended to revolve around sustainability.
Features such as special toilet floats, high-efficiency lights, low-flow water fixtures and an increase in concessions at the new stadium are features of the new stadium that Getterman said have helped increase sustainability, as previously reported by the Lariat.
Getterman said this played a huge role in helping to increase sustainability.
“This year we decreased the amount of trash we sent to landfills,” Getterman said, another accomplishment the sustainability program made in 2014.
The office has also engaged professors on campus who have become involved in recycling efforts.
“There’s always more we can do,” said Larry Lehr, senior lecturer in environmental science. “If we can get our students to develop mental models of what their lives would look like, and start to live those models, I think that we’ve done a whole lot.”
Marcum said a major behavioral catalyst is environmental awareness, which has helped spur a lifestyle change in many Baylor students and employees.
One of the mottos used most frequently by the sustainability board is the scripture of Psalm 24:1, which reads, “The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world and all who live in it.”
Lehr said this reminder forces those who live by this verse to consider why they recycle and how God calls them to bring glory to Him through sustainability.