WLU Sustainability Committee meets to discuss collaboration 

By Sean Kranske, Contributing Writer
 
On Feb. 22, the Sustainability Committee held a meeting in the Shaw Hall conference room. Three main topics were discussed, but the main goal of the meeting was to increase collaborative efforts on campus.
 
The committee is divided into the recycling, environmental education, and sustainability subcommittees. West Liberty University’s Lead HVAC Technician Keith Kaczor led the meeting, and each subcommittee consists of various faculty and staff members as well as students from across campus. 
 
“We have so many talented people and so many awesome departments here on campus, so why can’t we begin to collaborate with each other and begin to build partnerships with some of the things we’re all working on,” Kaczor said.
 
The first part of the meeting centered on WLU’s recycling initiatives. The committee hopes to increase the amount of recycling at West Liberty not only to help the environment, but to alleviate the cost of trash pickup. 
 
“We get money for what we do recycle. It’s not a whole lot, but hopefully it will begin to cut down the cost of what we’re paying for garbage pickup,” Kaczor explained. 
 
Another issue discussed was that some students tend not to recycle because they are unsure of what can and cannot go into the recycling bins. The committee hopes to spread awareness about what can and cannot be recycled as well as encourage students to recycle more. Ideas discussed at the meeting included incentives for recycling, passing out flyers, and conducting surveys. 
 
The final recycling-related issue was electronic recycling. Currently, there are many pieces of old technology on campus that are outdated and can be recycled. These items include computers, monitors, and CRT televisions. Because these electronics contain various types of metal, they may prove to be a valuable source of income if recycled properly.
 
Environmental Education Day was the next main topic. The committee discussed the possibility of expanding to Environmental Education Week, and discussed various events that could be held during this time. Ideas include planting more trees on the quad, t-shirt sales, and “upcycling.” 
 
Upcycling is an event where used items (usually clothing) are donated, and other people can trade items they currently have for items that have been donated, or simply just donate items they don’t want anymore.
 
The last major discussion focused on sustainability. The topics discussed were centered around how West Liberty can manage the things that are already here. Kaczor showed the rest of the committee the database that logs various pieces of equipment on campus. The information logs the location, brand, and serial number on things like refrigerators, air conditioners, heaters, etc.
 
Using this database will help identify the energy usage and cost of operation for equipment all over campus. By knowing this information, the university can work towards decreasing the cost of maintenance and operation. If the university is able to cut these costs by 30 percent, that would save around 4 million dollars over a period of ten years.
 
The current Sustainability Committee was previously called the President’s Council on Sustainability and was directed by the Higher Education Policy Commission (HEPC). It has since evolved into what is now the Sustainability Committee. As part of this change, the Green Initiative that was once part of the Faculty Senate has since been merged with the Sustainability Committee. 
 
Photo credit: Daniel Morgan and Stock Photo