Students strive to make FSC environmentally friendly, so it has always been a team effort. The Recycling Program, also known as the Green Team, began with two students who wanted a greener campus.
Two current members of the Green Team are junior Grace Mueller and senior Stephanie Elwell. The team is also associated with the Students for a Sustainable Campus club.
Mueller is the president of the club, and Elwell is head of the Recycling Program. Two Green Team volunteers turned into five student employees collecting material around campus.
Previously, staff members carried bins around campus. Employees can now pick up recyclable items with a golf cart. This provides a faster, more convenient way for students to collect.
“It was a wonderful opportunity, working in Facilities, when they asked for someone to take over the program,” Hand said. “The real reward is working with students.”
Bins are labeled clearly and placed around campus. Many students are concerned with where or how to recycle items, saying there are not enough bins located on campus.
“I do care about recycling, and I try to recycle plastic, aluminum and especially paper,” junior Calley Simpson said. “I think it’s a great way to reduce our waste because so many things can be recycled now.”
According to Billy Hand, recycling manager, there are about 73 pickup spots around campus. Recycling bins contain three slots to separate plastic bottles and aluminum cans. These can be found in Tutu’s or outside of residence halls.
Students, such as Simpson, believe the program should shift its focus to recycling paper.
“I really think recycling paper should be a focus for the school,” Simpson said. “Having bins for used paper in the Tech Center, Tutu’s, the library, and other computer areas around campus would be especially useful at the end of the semester when everyone is cleaning.”
Events such as the Green Party and Sustainability Day spread the word about the program’s efforts. To raise recycling efforts, FSC participates in a competition called RecycleMania.
This event keeps track of how much recycling and trash is collected in an 8-week period. The competition takes place in the spring, and encourages college students to increase recycling rates.
RecycleMania provides Green Team members with ideas to educate students, and motivate them to keep FSC free of trash. Elwell says the team plans to pick up recyclables in residence halls in the near future.
“We’re going to start doing a trash pickup in the dorms,” Elwell said. “It seems like a lot of students are interested, but they don’t have the resources. Hopefully we can get more bins for the school offices.”
For a special pick up, students and staff may submit a work order for items such as paint cans or metal. Work orders may be placed from the FSC homepage.
“I think that most students just throw out tons of recyclables because they have nowhere else to put it,” junior Jeremy Bixson said. “Especially with the apartments, the students that live there have no place to recycle milk cartons, orange juice bottles, or any plastic, glass or metal containers.”
Bixson says bins should be added to areas such as the walkways near Edge Hall, Branscomb, Jenkins Field House and outside of dorms.
“I think there should be more recycle receptacles in heavy traffic areas, and at least one at every apartment complex,” Bixson said.
According to Elwell, off-campus apartments receive recycling bins for the city of Lakeland to pick up.
“Hopefully, if [students] take the initiative to do it now, then they will be recycling when they are in the apartments,” Elwell said.
Mueller says the program hopes to get stronger, sturdier bins that can withhold rainy weather and more water fountains.
One of the program’s main goals is to have more bins, and to promote the program for students who are interested in learning more.
“We’re trying to get more people involved so the program will continue,” Mueller said. “We hope the program grows.”