Recycling initiative on Move In Day takes coordinated effort

  PSU
  Friday, August 18, 2017 2:00 AM
  News, Giving Back

Pittsburg, KS

Recycling initiative on Move In Day takes coordinated effort

Pittsburg State University Recycling Services, the on-campus Students for Sustainability group, and the Southeast Kansas Recycling Center will be collecting and salvaging recyclable materials that are discarded during the move-in process. It is a coordinated effort that began in 2012.

“We usually hold a planning meeting because everyone’s involved,” said Catherine Hooey, PSU professor and member of the sustainability committee. “It’s very much a three-partner thing.”

Once the planning is complete, the next step is to start preparing for the large amount of materials that will be collected. This part of the process is done by Tonya Pentola and Dennis Sellegren, who operate the university’s General and Recycling Services.

Pentola and Sellegren will set out the gaylords that hold all of the recyclables on Thursday and Friday. On Saturday, Students for Sustainability and faculty members will join them in sorting out the materials they are able to collect – cardboard, paper, plastic bottles, cans, and plastic wrap – and loading them into a truck.

“They’ll have the truck going around with two empties and they’ll just be swapping them out,” Sellegren said. “They’ll keep running back and forth fighting the traffic and the crowds.”

However, the work does not stop there.

Typically students continue unpacking and setting up their rooms onSunday, adding more to the dumpsters.

“On Monday, things are overflowing so Dennis and I – and students if we can get them – go down to the dumpsters and pick up what we can from people coming in late,” Pentola said. 

By the end of the day Monday, the trucks are full and waiting to be taken to SEK Recycling.

While these three groups work together to plan, coordinate, and carry out the entire process, University Housing also plays a key role. 

“Their part is training their resident assistants to educate people as they’re moving in, and they make signs and posters about how to get things back to us because we’re collecting it all,” Hooey said.

Even though it can be a lot of work, there are benefits to what the groups sometimes refer to as “Move-in Mayhem”. 

“It’s fun because you get to gear up and meet new student on campus and get them excited about recycling, and some of the parents comment that they’re so happy to see it,” Hooey said. “I think it’s good to show that we’re trying to take recycling seriously on campus.”