April 2, 2007
Morningside College received a matching $12,000 forgivable loan from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, Solid Wastes Alternative Program (SWAP) to develop and implement a sustainable comprehensive recycling program on campus. The program includes recycling of all types of paper products including newspapers, books, and magazines, cardboard, aluminum beverage cans, and several grades of plastics.
The program, implemented on campus beginning in January, was designed with three goals: to provide durable collection containers for different types of recyclable materials throughout all campus buildings and outdoor facilities; to generate educational materials and campus forums to promote the recycling initiative and environmental awareness; and to institutionalize the recycling initiative to insure sustainability of the program through establishment of a permanent Recycling and Environmental Committee and three paid student positions to assist in the collection of recyclable materials on campus.
Dr. James Stroh, associate professor of biology and chemistry at Morningside, wrote the application for the grant and serves as co-chair for the recycling committee, along with Dr. Tom Gilbert, professor of philosophy. Aaron Kraft, former environmental engineer for the city of Sioux City, submitted a letter of support for the project.
“Part of the college’s mission statement maintains that students, faculty, and staff cultivate ‘a dedication to ethical leadership and civic responsibility.’ By establishing a recycling program, we are modeling behavior that we want our students and our community to emulate,” said Stroh. “In addition to diverting waste from a landfill, we are also trying to reduce the amount of raw materials, some of which are non-renewable, needed to create plastic bottles and paper.”
Other members of Morningside’s recycling committee include Lacey Bensink and Joe Maffitt, AmeriCorps*VISTA service/learning coordinators; Michael Buse, assistant professor of mass communication; Dr. Jack Hill, associate professor of psychology; Karen Johnson, circulation manager at the Hickman-Johnson-Furrow Learning Center; John Kolbo, instructor of art; Kathy Olson, campus pastor, and Morningside students Ashley Danner, Emily Grabow, and Phil Lieder.
SWAP works to reduce the amount of solid waste generated and put in landfills across the state of Iowa. Through a competitive process, financial assistance is available for a variety of projects, including source reduction, recycling and education. Projects are selected for funding based on tonnage avoided or reduced, sustainability, and ability to replicate.