Groups push for more conservation at U

Bridget Haeg

To preserve resources on which the community relies, the University formed a work group to draft proposals for on-campus conservation.

“We need to look past recycling as a solution to many environmental problems, and rather look at it as the beginning of what must be done,” said Kevin Clay, an environmental science first-year student.

The Sustainability and Energy Conservation Policy Work Group, which might submit its proposals to the Board of Regents in May or June, stands as one of many University-wide initiatives for resource management and conservation.

University President Bob Bruininks created the group last fall. It is made up of University faculty, staff and two students.

Phil McDonald, chief of staff to the vice president for University Services, said the group is drafting policies to conserve resources on campus.

Clay said it is important the University finds new ways to recycle and reuse materials.

“Otherwise, all products will eventually reach their fate in the landfill,” he said.

Nature’s standards of re-use provide “the guideline of what we should follow” when designing recycling programs, said Clay, who has participated in some of the group’s discussions.

The University’s ReUse Program does its part to fulfill this goal by collecting used office supplies. Rather than throwing away the used furniture and supplies, the program finds the items new homes in other departments or the general public.

The University allots 30,000 square feet for the program, enabling it to reuse significantly more items, whereas other institutions throw more away, ReUse Program coordinator Peter O’Keefe said.

The concept of re-use has also filtered into the University’s Raptor Center. The St. Paul center’s recycling program, which began in late September, recycles ink-jet and toner cartridges to raise money for their educational programs, Raptor Center education volunteer Richard Stanley said.

People mail empty cartridges to the GreenFund Network for recycling. Most cartridges draw a $2 credit for the Raptor Center.

The program has earned more than $1,250 for Raptor Center programs.

“The University itself was a natural client for the program,” Stanley said. “People love it. They are contributing money to the Raptor Center, and they are recycling something.”