Recycling day promotes campus trend

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Students use recycled bottles to create colorful “fish” to be hung in Farinon. (Photo by Jess Furtado ’19)

Jane Collins

Compared to last year, recycling numbers on campus have increased in August and September, Director of Sustainability Marie Fechik-Kirk said.

“We had around a half ton more recycling in August and had about two tons in September. So, that’s a really good sign. It’s just a couple months of data so I don’t know if that’s enough to say that things are on the upswing,” Fehick-Kirk said.

In hope of sustaining this trend, the Office of Sustainability, ECOreps, and Lafayette Environmental Awareness and Protection (LEAP) partnered this year to participate in America Recycles Day on Nov. 15. The nationwide event aims to increase awareness of the benefits of reusing and recycling materials in order to create a more sustainable environment.

On America Recycles Day, ECOrep Silvia Chilel Martin ’20 and other students led a bird making project that allowed “students to tap into their creativity, while learning about boreal birds and the importance of recycling paper and buying recycled paper,” Fechik-Kirk said.

ECOrep Mike Szydelko ‘20 created an infographic for the mailroom teaching students how to breakdown boxes. Patrick Leggieri ’18 created a humorous video about breaking down boxes as well.

Fechik-Kirk said that the day came together with the help of student ECOreps and members of LEAP. Fechik-Kirk says that Martin took to the idea of America Recycles Day and helped bring it together after the Office of Sustainability expressed interest in increased programming about recycling on campus.

“We’ve been working on increasing awareness of recycling and also increasing awareness that we do recycle on campus. Allowing people to know what we can and cannot recycle is important. Hopefully this will do it,” Fechik-Kirk said.

Student members of LEAP also helped run projects during the day. Lucy Moeller ’21 started the “Ocean Awareness Craft Workshop” where students could make recycled fish art to increase awareness of plastic in oceans and the importance of recycling plastic. Jake Hoffner ’20 created the Paper Making Workshop, with the use of his engineering knowledge.

“Jake used his engineering skills to enhance the paper making process and to make it easy for others to participate,” Fechik-Kirk said.

Fechik-Kirk has already seen improvements in Lafayette’s recycling. At the beginning of the school year, the Office of Sustainability implemented new signage and new recycling containers, as well as the Green Move-In. America Recycles Day was an opportunity to further those efforts.

“Overall we want to recycle more on campus. We could do a lot more,” she said.