Illustration by Tyler Carpenter
Students who are investigating campus recycling are striving to create awareness in order to improve the recycling system.
Whitney Miller, Toree Douglas, Jessica Olsen and Merry Nguyen, students and environmentalists, observed the recycling system at UVU with a mission to make a change.
The sustainability committee on campus found that the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 75 percent of the American waste stream is recyclable, but only about 30 percent is recycled. In an effort to solve funding issues and improve recycling on campus this committee turned to research conducted by Miller, Douglas, Olsen and Nguyen to understand how other Utah schools maintain a functioning recycling system.
At Salt Lake Community College, Nguyen and Miller found that students had petitioned to add $1.50 to student fees in order to raise the funds needed for a sustainable system. However, in an effort to decrease student fees, faculty continue to investigate in other ways to obtain the funds, according to Colleen Bye, chair of UVU’s sustainability committee.
“The school does not prioritize the funding to sustain an effective recycling center,” Nguyen said. “The staff is not given the resources to dedicate to planning a recycling center. There is a lack of education about sustainability and recycling within the student body, which leads to less of a motivation to initiate a recycling center.”
McKenna Finch, a senior history major and intern to Val Peterson, the vice president of Finance and Administration, confirmed that funding is the issue for becoming more sustainable.
“Some of the current flaws of UVU’s sustainability stem from lack of funds,” Finch said.
“[We are] constantly looking for additional ways to promote sustainability,” Holland said in response to sustainability day. “Along with the rest of the community, we must do more to ensure a viable quality of life for ourselves and for future generations.”
According to the recycling page on UVU’s website, sustainability and recycling are a high priority on campus. For this reason, those who support the sustainability committee continue to look for alternative ways to improve recycling on campus.
“UVU is looking at various options for additional funding for recycling program such as a grant and improving income generated by materials,” Bye said. ”We have not ruled out a student petition, but we are interested in first seeing the efforts of tracking and revamping our current program.”