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University of Central Missouri
Administration 302
Warrensburg, MO 64093
Phone: 660-543-4640
Fax: 660-543-4943


Students Take the Lead in Campus Recycling Initiative

Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (July 10, 2009) - After participating in programs such as the Earth Day celebration and the National Teach-in for Global Warming Solutions this spring, two UCM seniors are taking further steps to promote a “green” campus. Manuel Abarca, Kansas City, and Nicholas McDaniels, St. Louis, are preparing to launch a campus pilot project to promote recycling.

Test Run in Preparation for Campus-wide Initiative  

They introduced the program July 13 with a two-week test run in the Elliott Union, Administration Building and the James C. Kirkpatrick Library. The students are working in cooperation with Betty Roberts, vice president for administration and finance, to make the program possible.

Abarca and McDaniels are coordinating the effort from top to bottom. They are working with off-campus businesses and organizations to handle distribution of recycle bins and pickup of recyclables, in addition to making plans for training custodial staff and others who will be involved in the project. They are also initiating educational components such as the distribution of informational fliers and email alerts to help keep faculty, staff and students informed about the effort and what they can do to help make it a success. Funding for materials such as receptacles needed at collection points is being provided through the Office of Administration and Finance.    

“By mid-September, we hope to have all of the academic buildings online with recycling,” McDaniels said.

Collection Points Established

He noted that collection bins will be placed within the three test buildings. Paper materials such as newspapers, magazines, cardboard and book paper will be among the recyclables. All plastic materials labeled 1-7 and trash bags will be recycled, as well as aluminum and metal cans. No glass will be accepted.

A Shared Responsibility

The project coordinators said the campus community will share responsibilities such as breaking down cardboard boxes before placing them in recycle bins, utilizing main office receptacles, and keeping non-recyclable materials from being mixed into recycling receptacles.

Abarca and McDaniels developed the program after looking at other programs across the state. Currently, recycling at UCM is done in an ad-hoc volunteer fashion. The students believe their program will not only lead to consistency in campus recycling procedures but be a program that can be sustained throughout the academic year. They stressed recycling effort it is consistent with sustainability initiatives supported through the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment, which was signed by University President Aaron Podolefsky in 2007. The program also comes at the same time the university is initiating a $36.1 million energy savings project, which, when completed in two years, will significantly reduce the institution’s carbon footprint.

Everyone is Involved

Both students agree that all campus members have a hand in creating a greener environment.

“We need to change the way we have been living as students, staff, and faculty and make sustainability part of this new lifestyle where we no longer accept waste, no longer accept un-recyclable products, and most importantly no longer let others ruin our planet. It’s time for a change and I am proud to say that my university is a champion in sustainability,” Abarca  said.