The Charger Blog

University of New Haven Students, Staff Help Raise Awareness to Importance of Recycling

Laura Miller, director of energy and sustainability, and Sam Alaimo ’21, a marine biology major and leader of the University of New Haven’s Marine Conservation Society, discuss efforts to increase visibility of the University’s sustainability initiatives, including participating in RecycleMania.

September 3, 2019

By Sam Alaimo ’21 and Laura Miller

Image of Wyatt Olivarez ’20 and Sarah Piette ’22
Wyatt Olivarez ’20 and Sarah Piette ’22

The University of New Haven community is dedicated to creating a culture of sustainability, and all students, faculty, and staff can play an important role.

During the spring semester, for the first time, the University of New Haven participated in RecycleMania, a contest that compares the recycling habits of colleges in the United States and Canada and challenges them to increase recycling efforts while decreasing waste. Categories include waste diversion, total recycling, and waste minimization.

The Office of Facilities and the Marine Conservation Society, an organization that actively works to help protect our surrounding marine environments through conservation efforts, connected following an Undergraduate Student Government Association Meeting as a way to help promote proper recycling habits to the campus.

As part of the efforts, the Marine Conservation Society conducted a Recycling Behavior Survey to see what – and if – students, faculty, and staff recycled. Out of the 100 people who took the survey, 74 percent said they recycle on campus.

"We are excited to continue collaborating with students and offices and departments across campus."Sam Alaimo ’21 and Laura Miller

One of the most surprising results? More than half of the respondents did not know that there is a battery recycling bin on campus. (It’s in Buckman Hall.) The results of the survey helped us determine where to focus our efforts to educate the campus community about the importance of recycling.

During the semester, the Marine Conversation Society set up tables in Bartels Hall to promote recycling habits across campus. The group had games that included "recycling basketball" and "is it recyclable?" The tables were a success, and students who stopped by received information about the proper recycling methods.

In addition, focus groups were held to help measure key aspects of the campus’s current recycling program. One of the findings from these focus groups was the need for more recycling awareness and signage. This led to the development of a new informational magnets that have been distributed across the campus.

As we look forward to the new academic year, we are excited to again participate in RecycleMania – an initiative that we hope to take part in annually. We are excited to continue collaborating with students and offices and departments across campus to continue building on our participation in RecycleMania and to work with members of the campus community to make our campus greener and more sustainable and to do our part to protect the environment.

Keep an eye out for new information about sustainability and recycling by following @UNewHavenSustainability on Instagram.