On November 17th Lommen and Weld Halls joined the ranks of top green schools who’ve removed the trash cans from classrooms as part of an effort aimed at diverting waste from the landfill and giving it new life in the recycling stream. It’s a growing trend on college campuses, where instead of having a trash can in each classrooms, students are directed to co-located trash/recycling areas in the hallways. MSUM Students Jaden Witt, Mackenzie Willits, and Kailee Epema, are all students taking SOC 319: Sociology and the Environment. As their final project for the course, the team worked with building service managers, general maintenance workers, department chairs, and the Office of Campus Sustainability, to communicate and initiate an improvement to the sustainability of our MSUM Campus.
“Sustainability isn’t just something you DO, there’s a process to it. In this case, communication was a key piece for the success of this project,” says Sustainability Coordinator Joe Herbst. “The team did a great job reaching out to the various people who might be impacted by this change, and worked with them to address concerns they may have.” MSUM’s Building Services staff and management were early supporters, and their cooperation really helped things run smoothly. According to Building Services Supervisor Matt Langlie, “this is something we’d like to have in place in all of our academic buildings by the start of Fall Semester 2015.
Despite early concerns about students just leaving their waste inside the classroom, reports from the GMW staff in Lommen and Weld have been positive. However, one student was overheard saying, “OMG, ewww, I don’t wanna, like, carry my own trash into the hallway just to recycle it.” Regardless, the majority of students, faculty, and staff are embracing the change. While it’s too early to tell exactly how many cans, bottles, or papers have been spared from their final resting place in the landfill, recycling volumes do seem to be increasing. Congratulations to SOC 319 students Jaden, Hailee, and Mackenzie for deftly applying sustainability to reduce waste on our campus. And keep an eye out for Trashless Classrooms: coming soon to a building near you!