Go Green! Go White! Go Garbage?
As of now, our campus is not exactly living up to its green reputation.
MSU is the only Big Ten University without a recycling program facilitated by the university administration in residence halls. With the discontinuation of the on-campus recycling program managed by the Residence Hall Association, some students and faculty are frustrated with the way student tax dollars are being spent.
In the fall of 2003, the student-run RHA utilized the $22 semester fee from each resident and started a recycling program. Overwhelmed by cost and responsibility, members dropped the program with a 19-0 vote at the end of the 2004 fall semester.
Some students are concerned about how the $22 previously spent on recycling is being used now. “I think our money should still be spent on recycling,” telecommunications sophomore Andrew Malinovich said. “Spending it on other RHA things seems kind of pointless.”
Eco, MSU’s student environmental group, is concerned about the future of sustainability on campus. They are gearing up to take on the challenge of RHA’s former chore. With guidance from adviser Terry Link, director of the Office of Campus Sustainability, the group decided to start spreading awareness about the situation at hand.
The absence of a facility to collect and sort recyclables is one of the main challenges in creating a forceful, efficient system in the dorms. By generating awareness, money can be raised to create one of these centers.
Eco member Nick O’Connor said the organization needs help from the student body. “The process and program are so behind. It’s sad,” he said.
MSU committed to making the campus greener by employing a comprehensive recycling program in 1990, after a petition signed by 16,000 students was handed to the Board of Directors.
Eco goes “dorm storming” every week, alerting students of the administration’s promise of a thoroughly sustainable recycling program. They hope to persuade students to sign a new petition that will let the administration know just how many residents are aware of its unfulfilled pledge. Members of Eco are hoping the petition will also help more people realize that materials such as aluminum and plastic, in addition to paper products, should be recycled.
Academic buildings currently have a paper recycling program that is paid for by a general fund, independent of RHA. “There is still a robust recycling program at MSU,” Angela Brown, director of University Housing, said.
For many students and faculty members, this just isn’t enough. Joey Marogil, an MSU graduate and former Eco member, believes that Eco should scrap the recycling campaign for a more cutting edge proposal: green energy. This would mean elimination of coal burning, utilization of solar energy and even potentially burning cow manure for fuel.
“We really could do better. We’re poised to make some changes,” Link said. “In my book, we’re not going fast enough, but we have come a long way.”

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