John Brown University has a new goal in mind: to be the first zero-landfill school in all of Arkansas or Oklahoma. The students and faculty involved in SIFE are heading up a recycling project, and are asking the student body to get involved.
“It’s important for people to know that we can recycle all types of things,” said Steve Brankle, director of facilities services.
“This is good for both the environmental needs and our physical needs. To be the first in Arkansas and Oklahoma would give the school good publicity and it would save us money too.”
Brankle knows that in a school the size of JBU, getting students on board with his project is one of the quickest ways to spread the idea. He is currently working with Students in Free Enterprise, Student Government Association, The Nature Society and Resident Directors.
The SIFE group, “Project Zero,” has been one of the first to partner with Brankle in his project.
“Project Zero” wants to promote recycling on campus in order to raise awareness about the environment, and to gain a habit of recycling and managing the amount of trash produced. Sophomore Obed Diaz was one of the first people that Brankle approached with this idea.
“When Steve first asked me if I would be interested in partnering with him for this project, I questioned it. I thought about it for a while and then I became excited,” Diaz said.
The SIFE leaders told Diaz that if he could recruit a team, the project could work well in the SIFE system.
Diaz, who is already an avid recycler, was planning on working hard to be an advocate for recycling before Brankle approached him, but wasn’t thinking he would take on a project this big.
Diaz said he wanted to inform students on how to save the environment and use resources efficiently.
“We waste so much of our electricity, food, and plastics, and students need to realize the importance of using what we have been given well,” he said.
The group knows that it is important to communicate the importance of recycling, and has dedicated part of their project to the understanding of being good stewards of God’s creation.
Facilities services and SIFE will also be working on making recycling easier.
“We are trying to take our campus to the next level,” Brankle said. “We are starting with taking out trash cans and putting recycling bins in their place.”
Brankle noted that recycling bins are already placed in every classroom in Walker and the Cathedral for ease of recycling. The resident halls are next in line.
“We are working to make it easier on students. Everything that can be recycled will be able to be thrown into one bin,” Brankle said. “We will sort through it all. This is more work for us, but will make it easier to work towards our goal.”
The SIFE group will be meeting weekly to collaborate with facilities services, and also to work on how to advertise the project to the student body.
Diaz said they are making a video to raise awareness. They are making information available for the students, and are also planning activities each month for the students to engage in.
“If we can make recycling as easy as throwing out trash, then I think it would go over well. We just need to get the word out, and show students how beneficial it can be,” Brankle said.