One may awaken on a Saturday morning after a wild night of partying to a sea of crushed beer cans littering the ground outside Old Kenyon. Some just call it college, while others call it trash. As for Brendan Urban ’17, he sees an opportunity for a green initiative — recycling cans.
On Jan. 21, Urban, the philanthropy chair of Alpha Delta Phi (ADs), sent a Student-Info email asking party hosts for help with his plan.
Urban is concerned with the number of empty cans and bottles that end up being thrown in the garbage or on the ground after parties, rather than in a recycling bin. He said half the battle is the confusion of where to recycle. His plan is for party-throwers to collect their cans in big bags — even if they’re half full of beer — and then, in the morning, Urban will come and bring those bags to the nearest college recycling facility.
Urban has been in contact with Dave Heithaus, director of green initiatives and a member of Sustainability Council, to discuss purchasing larger recycling bins for party spaces. In an email to the Collegian, Heithaus said he supported Urban’s efforts but was not involved beyond obtaining “user-friendly containers” for party sites. Urban envisions these bins being delivered to registered parties picked up the next morning by Urban (or his AD brothers).
Matt Meyers ’17, co-president of ECO and a member of Sustainability Council, wrote in an email to the Collegian that ECO was not currently involved in Urban’s project but is supportive of his efforts. ECO’s main focus is placing recycling bins in each first-year dorm room, according to Meyers. Though the email may have implied otherwise, Urban confirmed that ECO was not involved.
Urban, also a member of Sustainability Council, said the group is working on a more comprehensive review of on-campus recycling. “They want to place more bins in heavily trafficked areas, such as Peirce and the KAC,” Urban said. Sustainability Council leadership did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
He also said that by introducing first years to an “atmosphere of recycling,” the program would eventually put the entire campus in a recycling mindset. Though Urban said this may not stop students from throwing beer cans along Middle Path, he hopes whoever picks up the bagged recycled cans in the morning will pick up the Middle Path cans as well.
Urban plans to use the cans as a fundraising effort as well, generating revenue for the ADs from selling the scrap metal. “Maybe if we get enough money from recycling, we’ll throw a ‘recycled party,’” he said. However, he doesn’t view the recycling initiative as a potential for service hours, explaining that the ADs fulfill their service requirements through AD Afterhours, a program during which the fraternity sells and delivers burritos on campus to raise money for the New Directions domestic abuse shelter in Mount Vernon.
At present, Urban is engaged in a waiting game, though his focus remains on cleanup after all-campus parties. If this initiative is successful, Urban hopes eventually to expand his initiative to provide recycling at smaller gatherings, such as North Campus Apartment or division-housing parties.