Step by step, OU goes green
BY ALANA HARTLEY
OU News Bureau
The average college student produces 640 pounds of solid waste every year, according to Green Networld.
Oakland University is taking steps to combat this statistic and create a greener campus.
The Oakland Center, residence halls and apartment buildings have recycling programs that use a system called single stream recycling. This system allows all recycled goods to be put in one bin instead of prior sorting, Maria Willett says.
Willett, a junior political science major, is the supervisor for Oakland University’s Sustaining Our Planet Earth (SOPE) program, a student task force that helps develop and promote environmentally friendly awareness and habits on campus. The program began four years ago.
Before this program, paper, plastic and metal recyclables were sorted into separate containers. Now, Willett says, OU can recycle so much more, including plastic bags, glass bottles and magazines.
Several places on campus have also taken a green initiative.
Vandenberg Hall, one of Oakland’s five residence halls, has an “Eco-Interest” floor. Any on-campus resident can sign up for this living-learning community. The “Eco-Interest” floor, the second floor of West Vandenberg Hall, features innovative, eco-friendly appliances such as dual flush toilets and low flow showerheads.
Samantha Viola, the apartments recycling coordinator for SOPE, says the recycling in all residence halls and apartment buildings is collected every Thursday by Waste Management.
Students who want to become an eco-leader can bring the weekly recycling down from their floor for pickup every Thursday. Then it goes to the Waste Management facility where it is separated and processed.
Looking to the future
The Human Health Building being built on Oakland University’s campus at the corner of Walton and Squirrel roads will open for classes in fall 2012.
This building will be the first in Michigan to have a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Platinum rating. This rating system is based on a building’s water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, sustainable sites, materials and resources, and indoor environmental air quality.
The Human Health Building will feature a geothermal system and solar panels.
Viola and Willett both encourage students to get involved in OU’s green initiative.
Students can recycle, sign up for the “Eco-Interest” floor, volunteer with the organic farm on campus, come to SOPE’s events on campus throughout the semester, or visit the SOPE office or facebook page.
Willett also encourages students to speak up when it comes to the environment.
“Students can contribute by making their voice heard,” Willett says. “Telling campus leaders what they want to make OU greener, asking for organic food options on campus, and attending programs that raise environmental awareness.”
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