Bison Go Green
By Andrew B. Jones, senior, School of Communications;
intern, Office of University Communications
The University launched its long awaited recycling initiative on September 18, during a press conference on the main yard. The program is designed to reduce Howard’s carbon footprint and environmental impact. Recycling bins have been placed in residence halls and administrative buildings as the first phase of the initiative, which seeks to identify areas of heavy waste production.
The program is the product of a partnership between student activism surrounding sustainability and the administration’s effort to move Howard in a progressive direction. Student leaders such as Dorien Blythers, president of the College of Arts and Sciences Student Council, have advocated heavily for such a program.
“As the leading HBCU, it is imperative that we begin recycling, in hopes that other HBCUs will follow in our footsteps,” said Blythers.
For him, this initiative marks a turning point in the Black community toward sustainability and environmental consciousness. “It’s important that African Americans have a sense of pride in the environment,” said Blythers, who was inspired to push for this program by his personal love for the outdoors. “We want to be at the forefront of recycling and going green.”
Michael Harris, associate vice president for administrative services, hopes that this type of excitement will motivate students to get involved in the program and reduce Howard’s waste output. He said the burden is now on the students, staff and faculty to participate and become good stewards of the environment and to answer the call of conservation. To increase awareness across campus for the initiative, Harris plans to join with the student leadership to reach out and educate the Howard community.
The kickoff, which included a biodegradable balloon release, was a major milestone in a long process leading up to the program’s implementation, and included a request for proposals, assessment of needs and waste identification. The initiative has been carefully studied and will be strategically implemented.
Involvement at this point is as simple as using the designated recycling bins, which separate waste into paper, aluminum, glass and plastic. Bins will then be reallocated depending on how much waste is collected in each location. According to Harris, recycling efforts will be made more effective by identifying the source of the most waste and responding to those results.
Although the bins are the first step, the initiative’s effectiveness will ultimately depend on participation.
“Now that we have the bins, we definitely have to keep the ball rolling when it comes to using them,” Blythers said.
Click the video icon to learn more about the new recycling program.
Note: A special thank you to the Radio, TV and Film Department, John H. Johnson School of Communications.