Red Goes Green

Fostering a Sustainable LC: Plans for 2016-2017

One of the biggest challenges of being an environmental studies major is promoting a sustainable lifestyle to others who may not have an environmental background. Convincing any group of people to make changes to their lifestyle is difficult enough. Last year, rumors spread around Lynchburg College that our campus does not recycle. This false information led students to conform to the wasteful, careless reputation that millennials have attained. When given a choice between an easy method and the best method, people tend to choose the easiest, quickest way instead of putting forth more effort to do the best way possible. Why do people toss recyclable materials into a garbage bin, when a recycling bin is right next to it? What causes this behavior and how can our campus community break these barriers?

In Doug McKenzie-Mohr’s Fostering Sustainable Behavior, he identifies a series of campaign styles that would most affect a group of people to change their behaviors. Mckenzie-Mohr writes that “we must concern ourselves with what leads individuals to engage in behavior that collectively is sustainable, and design our programs accordingly”. His identified campaign styles include economic self interest approaches and information campaigns, which in turn combine to form a community-based social marketing campaign. As a student, I have been exposed to the overall campus attitude toward recycling. In my opinion, the best way to approach to changing this situation is to use a combination of McKenzie- Mohr’s three campaigning strategies while focusing on community based social marketing.

The first step is to identify the barriers that prevent students from sustainable practices. From observation and interaction with the student body, I conclude that these barriers include access to recycling containers, consistent pickup of recycling, education of acceptable recyclable materials, and student support of recycling initiatives. With the help of the LC Student Government Association, we surveyed students to see what they thought about recycling on campus. We were able to get feedback from students about how recycling can be improved on campus. Many of the survey responses stated that there is a lack of information on what to put into the recycling bins as well as a lack of recycling bins on campus. This information will be useful to help our sustainability missions.

To break these barriers, I have been working with the college’s Grounds Crew, Dr. Henry-Stone, LC Environmental Sustainability Society, and Dining Services to promote sustainable practices on campus. As far as recycling, our team has planned to purchase brand new recycling containers that are customized for the Lynchburg College single stream recycling program. We agreed that having new bins would draw attention and lead students to realize that they can do their part in keeping our campus sustainable. This will increase student access to recycling containers and minimize waste. This week LCESS has been assisting me in handing out information about single stream recycling on campus. I will also hang informative posters above recycling bins. By having these posters visible in residence halls and all campus buildings, I hope that students will implement recycling into their daily routines.

Tackling recycling in the center of campus may be an easy fix, but how can we promote these initiatives to those who are distant to the center of campus? Although these students can request to have a personal recycling bin, it is difficult to keep track of locations of bins for students who live in houses, apartments, and townhouses. When discussing with the grounds crew, we decided it might be easier to create a communal drop off area for trash and recycling. In Peaksview apartments and the townhouses, there are wooden fence areas which contain mostly trash bins and one recycling bin. After purchasing new recycling bins, we would repurpose old bins for these recycling drop off stations. In order for this project to function, the students have to be informed and inclined to take out their trash and walk it over to the dropoff station. According to the grounds crew workers, it takes 4 hours for them to pick up trash on College and Lakewood streets alone. Students either do not leave their trash to pick up, or they produce so much waste that it overloads their trash bin. Instead of traveling house to house for pickup, the grounds crew would have to maintain three to four pickup locations. Three trash dropoffs would be located in the gravel lot area between College and Lakewood Streets. The last trash drop off location would be behind the houses on McCausland Street. The fences around the dropoffs would be color coded and divided so half would be blue for recycling and half would be red for trash. This project is currently being budgeted to determine the cost, and potentially will be purchased through solar energy credits produced by the college.

McKenzie-Mohr suggests through the economic self-interest approach that using incentives to promote sustainable behavior is very effective. How can we make recycling economically appealing to students? One idea that I had was to have organizations collect aluminum recycling which will then turn into profit for their group. Volunteers can collect aluminum weekly and bring to CA Recycling in Lynchburg where their recycling can turn into money. There is also an opportunity to turn this into a recycling contest, which would spread sustainable behavior around campus. What other incentives would make recycling appealing to students?
Please comment below with any ideas or suggestions!14517449_1095595347197545_1441682967222387453_n

 

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Beaver Point Community Garden

Welcome back Hornets!

My name is Lindsey Van Zile and I will be LC’s Campus Sustainability Intern this year. As part of my internship I will be posting in the Red Goes Green Blog, promoting recycling and initiating a compost program on campus. As a Senior Environmental Studies student, I hope to leave a legacy on campus and create an interest in campus sustainability for students in the future.

Last spring a big environmental project began on our campus! Dr. Henry-Stone’s Sustainable Living class worked hard to transform unused space at Beaver Point into a large garden area. Over the summer, the garden was maintained by students working on the grounds crew or completing summer courses.This summer’s harvest included tomatoes, sunflowers, basil, oregano, thyme, carrots, peas, strawberries, potatoes, and lettuce. This fall, volunteers have been working on harvesting the last of the large tomatoes as well as grape tomatoes, cucumbers, lima beans, green beans, jalapeno peppers, chile peppers, zucchini, and even a few pumpkins. Many of these plants flourished during the late summer, and are continuing growth due to the “summer like” climate. Earlier this month, additional seedlings were installed in the garden including swiss chard, spinach, and lettuce. This is just a portion of the fall plantings this season.

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As you may have heard, the LC community has welcomed five chickens to our garden as of August, thanks to the generous donation of business student Kevin Williams, who keeps chickens at home. These chickens are still fairly young and it is rewarding to watch them grow. The chickens are contained in a coop that was built and donated by an LC Environmental Studies  alum, Nels Erickson. Now that the chickens are beginning to grow bigger, those involved with the garden project are considering other ways to contain them in a larger space. It will take an average of six months for the chickens to lay their eggs so we definitely have to remain patient. Having chickens in the garden was not an original part of the plan, but it is beneficial to use the chicken’s waste to add nutrients to the soil. By moving the coop throughout the area of the garden,which has tall wire grass, the chickens are able to graze the grass and fertilize at the same time.

If you are interested in helping out with the LC Community Garden, please contact me at vanzile_l@lynchburg.edu
For updates on the garden, like us on Facebook!

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Climate Action Plan

Hello all! Thanks for joining me once again for another article of Red Goes Green. As many of you know, President Obama’s term is coming to a close. Just like most presidents nearing the end of their term, he has begun thinking about how he will be remembered after his presidency. It has become evident that President Obama wants to leave behind an environmental legacy. Read more ›

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To Veto or Not to Veto

Greetings fellow Hornets! I hope that all of you thoroughly enjoyed Lynchburg’s first snow day, and are ready to take on the cold weeks ahead of us. The next few weeks are going to be busy on both the national and local environmental fronts. Read more ›

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Welcome Back!

Greetings fellow Hornets! Welcome back and thanks again for joining me for the next article of Red Goes Green. In case you haven’t heard, Lynchburg College has enrolled in Recyclemania, a national competition that promotes recycling on school campuses. After measuring all of the recycling produced within acollege, they calculate the per capita recycling rate for that school. They are on the hunt for the school whose students have the best recycling habits. Read more ›

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Keystone XL Pipeline

Hello all! Once again, thank you for joining me for my next article of Red Goes Green. Today I’m writing about the highly debated political topic of the Keystone XL pipeline. Read more ›

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Installing a Rain Garden on Campus

  Greetings fellow Hornets! Thanks again for joining me for the next blog of Red Goes Green. I’m sure by now that you have all noticed activity at the entrance to the school. But what exactly is going on? Read more ›

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Goodbye College Lake?

 Hello all! Thanks for joining me once again for the next post of Red Goes Green. Today I’m very excited to share a number of things with you, but most significant is the status of the College Lake Dam. Read more ›

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Environmental Progress in Lynchburg

Hello all, and thanks for joining me again! Today, I’m going to discuss some exciting things that have been going on here at LC and in the local community over the past week. The events might already be over, but keep reading to find out some more ways that you can get involved! Read more ›

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The Ocean Cleanup

Hello everybody! Thanks for joining me for my second blog of the year! Today I will discuss the health of our oceans, and the incredible idea of a 19-year-old boy with a goal to clean it up. Read more ›

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