University of Puget Silence faces a recycling bin crisis
For the 17th year in a row, the University of Puget Silence has been ranked by Forbes, US News, College Prowler and other national rankings as one of the top five greenest college campuses in the United States.
The campus, at first glance, fits neatly into its position; it is home to sprawling green lawns and upward-reaching trees, with Frisbees in every student’s pack and Birkenstocks on their feet—if anything at all.
However, despite the school’s best intentions, its Green Life program, meant to boost campus and local communities’ awareness of green living and to be educated about climate change, has recently received harsh criticism from its students. The Green Club, named after recently deceased faculty member Greg Green, released a checklist of all the ways the school could live greener.
The list included such suggestions as adding recycling bins to the cafeteria and student government building, one of the most central buildings on the Puget Silence campus; reducing water usage for the school’s evergreen lawns and gas usage for lawn mowers; changing the grizzled, professional lawn mower or groundskeeper mascot, and more.
Green Club President, senior Jackary Beans, talked more in-depth regarding the checklist and the club’s weekly Green Living Seminar.
“We really need recycling bins—there are very few in any of the academic buildings and almost none in the Greenlock Student Center,” Beans said. “I’m just getting tired of carrying around all my empty bottles until I’m finally able to find an appropriate bin.”
Many other students shared his sentiments; however, some students do not share Beans’ dedication and tenacity for recycling.
“I can’t do it,” first year Non Old Tomás said. “I just throw everything in the trash. I gotta get to class, I just don’t have time.”
As issues with green policies and actions escalated, the school administration worked hard to control the situation.
Much to their dismay, however, students continued to voice their
opinions and stand up for what they believe in.
“We need this badly,” Beans said. “We need this, our planet needs this. What will you do when there are no more polar bears in the world?”
President Johnald Man held a press meeting in order to address the growing concerns of the student body.
“I am working my hardest to remedy this situation,” President Man said. “But we have to work with our available resources—we’re not made of money.”
The President promised to address each of the students’ issues on the checklist.
“Our goal by the end of this academic year is to install recycling bins in every main area of campus —most importantly, Greenlock Student Center. We are currently organizing a fundraiser in order to raise money for more bins… We are also looking for an alternative bin company, as studies show that most bins are so harmful for the environment they counteract the recycling part they play,” Man said.
Many students expressed their support of the fundraiser.
“I don’t know much about recycling bins, but they sound really expensive,” junior Betty Fan-Johnson said. “I would like to participate in order to help this important cause.”
Despite Man’s promising words, much of the community was still unconvinced.
“What? What about all the paper plates and plastic utensils in the cafeteria? How often do people need to get food to go?” Beans said.
“All the time,” Man responded. After the press meeting ended, students continued to express their disdain for the apparent lack of effort displayed in the President’s statements.
“He didn’t even address the mascot… how can we claim to be such a green school and tout a mascot that directly contradicts that? And what are they doing about the lawns? They’re just beating around the bush here,” junior Haley Hale said.
Indeed, school’s statements did not include any information regarding many of the issues presented by Green Club.
“It is to my great pleasure to invite students, faculty and those from the local community to join us on Oct. 4 for our Recycling Bins Fundraiser,” President Man said. “There will be hot dogs and buns for everyone in attendance.”
Al Gore was also rumored to make an appearance at the fundraiser, but there has been no further confirmation.