WU taking ‘baby steps’ to being eco-friendly

Jennifer Loucks

On March 14 at the Topeka Expo Center, the AmeriCorp Bonner Leader Program hosted the Topeka Green Fair. Its purpose is to educate Topeka and the surrounding areas about recycling. Overall this year, there were 40 venders, ranging from nonprofit organizations to heating and air companies.

Businesses such as Chevrolet had various demonstrations on display from eco-friendly cars to a small windmill.

At this event, WU had two booths, one run by WU All Green which informed patrons of the “10 ways to green” and the other put together by the Washburn Treehuggers, whose focus was coal pollution.

Considering that WU sponsored a couple of booths and considering all the recycling related information students could obtain from this fair, Washburn should rank high in “greenness.”

Not quite. Lacey Bisnett, leader of WU All Green said, “Washburn is in the baby steps of becoming green.”

There have been numerous attempts in the past few years to improve the campus’ ecological responsiveness. For example, the Facility Services have set goals about recycling and are now using more eco-friendly cleaners and fertilizers on the lawns, according to Bisnett.

As well, there are recycling bins in all the offices on campus, including ones for colored paper. There were initially containers placed throughout the buildings, but they were stolen at some point in the past year.

WU All Green, in conjunction with WSGA, has put in a bill that will provide funding for new bins, and it has been approved.

Many students wonder if all the material put in the bins is actually being recycled.

Freshman Bethany Whitehurst, who is currently living in the LLC, said, “I always recycled my bottles and paper, but then I heard that they were just being thrown away. It wasn’t until after Christmas Break that our RA told us that it was actually going to be recycled now.”

Bisnett said that, after a report was filed with the new director, employees were retrained as to the procedures of collection. Also, Facility Services have agreed to meet every six months with WU All Green to review the previous semester and to set goals for the next one.

WU All Green is also trying to push for a Styrofoam-free cafeteria.

“We want to work with Chartwells to create a different to-go option such as students and staff being able to bring their own Tupperware. With this, people would also be able to get a discount on their food,” said Bisnett.