Trashless rooms cause campus-wide confusion

by Tyler Jensen

jensenty@mnstate.edu

Three MSUM students began a class project last year that has taken root and left many classrooms without trash cans.

Jaden Witt, Mackenzie Willits, and Kailee Epema from the Sociology and the Environment class devised a final project where they worked with the school to remove the trash bins from Lommen and Weld Halls. It aimed at encouraging students to take their trash to the campus garbage stations, which features places for trash and recyclables.

Since it was reported to be a success, MSUM expanded the program to all classrooms, except for the labs, according to Building Services Supervisor Matthew Langlie.

Junior Sydney Stracke, vice president of the Sustainable Students Association (SSA), explains that the project is meant to get people to not throw their recyclables into the trash bins in the classroom but to separate them into the correct recycling sections.  Stracke believes that this was an issue that needed to be addressed. 

As a freshman, Stracke worked for MSUM’s Student Recycling Service (SRS) and often found recyclables mixed in with trash.

“I was with the recycling team and you would find bottles all the time in garbage cans I’d always be digging through them and lots of thing that could be recycled are always in the garbage,” Stracke said.

She said the SRS is spending this semester analyzing statistics from Lommen to determine if the project is still successful.

The SRS is currently looking for more feedback from students about the project.  If students want to contact someone about the project, Stracke recommends they get in touch with the Office of Sustainability.  The office, located in Hagan, is open weekdays from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The project doesn’t seem to be for everyone. Stracke admits that the SRS has had professors emailing them saying they do not like this plan. They don’t want students leaving the classrooms if they have to get rid of Kleenexes or gum in the middle of class.

Even though senior Stephanie Hansen likes the project, she had her doubts in the beginning. 

She was nervous that her fellow students would just leave their garbage in the classroom at the end of class.  Now that she hasn’t seen that happen, Hansen has a humorous outlook on the situation.

“I guess people are better than I thought,”  she laughed.

It remains to be seen what the long term effects the exodus of bins from classrooms will have. However, so far it seems to be passing the smell test.

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