Go green or go home: Campus needs serious changes to sustainability

Natalie Delgado, Herald Contributor

While making the transition to college, people don’t often question recycling and trash clean-up. Having only been on campus for a month, something I’ve been observing is the lack of awareness regarding recycling on campus.


The first question I asked my resident assistant was, “what do I do with my trash?” I instantly wanted to hear that someone would take care of it. However, I was hit with the harsh reality that we weren’t living at the Ritz Carlton and it was my responsibility to find a dumpster.


On move-in day, we were greeted with a bundle of informative papers on our desks. But, I honestly believe the majority of students threw them away or tossed them in a drawer to be forgotten about. Luckily, I saved mine and it wasn’t until writing this that I decided to look at them once more.


One of the bright and colorful sheets is titled, “Creating a Healthy Room and Residence Hall Environment.” There is a small orange square dedicated to sustainable habits; prompting us to separate our waste into separate piles of paper, cardboard, commingled (bottles and cans) and regular trash. Nowhere on this sheet does it tell us where to locate the proper bins or where we can find that information.


As a student living in Cedar Hall, I carry my trash to the dumpsters in front of Maple Hall. On my inaugural trash run of the year, I found myself frustrated. There is only recycling for paper and cardboard. It was only upon further investigation that I learned there were commingled recycling bins in the common area on my floor.


Delving into more research, I found the Campus Recycling and Waste Disposal Guide. I can imagine that only a handful of students are even aware such a thing exists. The guide contains definitions and locations of where to dispose batteries, cardboard, commingled, cell phones, computer monitors, fluorescent/incandescent bulbs, paper, ink/toner cartridges, TVs, plastic (#1 and #2), etc. This information would be useful… if it was promoted to students.


There needs to be more promotion of the resources available to students when it comes to waste. I have witnessed many students disregarding their recycling, tossing bottles and cans into normal trash cans. If RAs and administrators stressed proper recycling and the placement of the trash cans, we would have a more sustainable campus.


If you are interested in learning more about sustainability on campus visit the Campus Recycling and Waste Disposal Guide on the Roger Williams University site. If you want to get involved email [email protected] to join the Sustainability Club.