Spring 2022 Newsletter

Eco-Hero Spotlight

Sustainablity Communication with Danielle Burkin

by Sam Farabaugh - Sustainability Intern

The Eco-Hero Spotlight is an initiative started by Campus Sustainability to actively seek out and recognize individuals or groups that make an eco-friendly impact on BGSU. Anyone can be an Eco-Hero, so long as they are willing to do what it takes to promote sustainability. In this month's newsletter, our Eco-Hero is BGSU’s Danielle Burkin. She has been the Administrative Secretary in the English Department for 6.5 years and is a BGSU alum.

Having gone to BGSU herself, Danielle knew of the great opportunities that they could offer and happily accepted her current position after being a stay at home mom for 14 years. Her 4 kids offer her a lot of insight into sustainability initiatives and ways we can increase sustainability, and she has used this knowledge to inform her coworkers and department since.

During her time with BGSU, she has noticed an increase in sustainability initiatives and an increase in the variety of sustainable programs. We have continued to promote the ReStore, a space where BGSU students, faculty, and staff can take items for free and save them from going to the landfill. For her own department, she contacts our office for electronic pickups so that they can be recycled. She also has initiated Terracycling and has had conversations about sustainability on campus with her coworkers at department meetings. Danielle was introduced to Terracycling through her four kids who have been volunteering at the Toledo Zoo now for many years. Terracycling is the recycling of items like granola wrappers, credit cards, school and office supplies, and many more items that are commonly not able to be recycled.

In her life at home, Danielle and her family support Terracycling and the Toledo Zoo, as well as ensuring they give back to their community by organizing park cleanups of the areas they use for the Perrysburg Rowing Club. Danielle says she believes it is always important to leave places better than you found them. “It really is simple,” she says, “We just need to devote the time and make the effort.”

Danielle thinks the opportunities that our office offers are unique and are our greatest accomplishments. She thinks, if more students knew about them, we could reach a greater audience and be even more successful. Danielle has a multitude of ideas for our office to implement, such as offering more sustainability information to students during orientation, in residence halls, and during campus tours. She thinks the more information students can learn about our office from the start of their time here at BGSU, the better.

As for future generations and our outlook on the environment, Danielle believes that we must find a way to make it better. “It’s all about communication,” she says. If we can spread the word and put in the effort, more sustainability can reach all areas across campus.

Thank you, Danielle, for being an Eco-Hero and for all that you have done to enforce sustainability at BGSU.

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Clothing donated to the ReStore

How Do We Reduce Waste at BGSU?

BGSU established sustainability goals and has included them in our Climate Action Plan for a number of years.  Our three major sustainability goals have always included:  Emissions Reduction, Waste Reduction/Resource Conservation, and Sustainability Education & Outreach.  But all these goals blend together.  What happens when you send a lot of waste to the landfill?  It contributes to the creation of methane, a greenhouse gas that’s more than 20 times more  potent than carbon dioxide in creating climate change.  It makes sense that we could lower our emissions as well as create other environmental benefits and even save money by sending less waste to the landfill.  Because less waste means we can buy less new items/materials, and that, as well as the lowering of “tipping fees” paid for what’s sent to the landfill saves us money also!  Reducing waste is simply a win-win!  How are we making it work at BGSU though?

1.      Surplus Re Use:

BGSU operates a warehouse on East Reed Street where surplus furniture and other large inventory items are kept and made available to departments and offices at no charge.  If you are looking for a table, office chairs, lounge furniture, etc. you may find something you can use/reuse that will fit your needs and would simply need to submit a maintenance request to have it delivered by the Logistics area of Campus Operations, which operates the warehouse.  See https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSf2dYkRUQBl8-ZBQX3HUh5fnq4OnwKyKC1P3AvF9q01tkpxeA/viewform for on online listing of what is currently available, or contact Logistics to set up an appointment to take a look in person.

The Re Store and WYMO:  Throughout the year, BGSU operates a “reuse” store called the “re store” over in McDonald Hall that is open for a couple hours each week to students, faculty and staff.  A variety of small, lightly used items are available for free and include school/office supplies, electronics, household items, small furniture, clothing, books, and much more.

In April, the When You Move Out, Don’t Throw It Out (WYMO) program begins (and is currently in full force), with collection boxes placed in all residence hall lobbies and Greek townhouses, the Union, and BGSU Dining Marketplace stores.  Students can donate nonperishable food, clothing, shoes, household/kitchen items, toiletries, appliances, futons/small furniture, cleaning supplies and anything that’s still usable. These items are provided to local food pantries and non-profits, as well as the re store, for eventual BGSU community reuse.  The collection continues until residence halls close for the academic year.  For more info on WYMO and the re store, see https://www.bgsu.edu/campus-sustainability/recycling-waste-reduction.html

2.      Surplus sales and donations

Each year, BGSU sells thousands of dollars in sales of surplus items to the public through the http://www.govdeals.com  website.  Doing a search on this site and using “BGSU” or our zip code will bring up all items currently listed in an “ebay” type of sales format, where bids are submitted. Everything from kitchen equipment to vehicles and all things in between are sometimes found on this site, which also includes other schools and public institutions that are selling surplus.  As a public institution for the public good, BGSU also donates items to nonprofits such as Habitat for Humanity, St. Mark’s Furniture Pantry and other charities on a regular basis.

3.      Composting

Food sent to the landfill contributes significantly to methane production.  BGSU has a pre-consumer composting program and collects produce trimmings from the Oaks, and Carillon Place dining halls as well as the BTSU Falcon’s Nest.  In a regular year that amounts to close to 30 tons.  Our next expansion will hopefully be to include “post- consumer” composting as well, which would include uneaten food from consumers.  This would be a huge step towards reducing the weight/volume of what is currently sent to the landfill regularly from our dining centers.

4.      Recycling:

Most of us see recycling bins in BGSU building daily.  These are for the “commingle” recycling, which includes our standard items such as cans, plastic and glass bottles, office paper and newspaper.  But BGSU recycles a lot more than that, mostly behind the scenes.  We recycle outdated/broken electronics and electronic equipment (basically anything with a battery or power cord), and this amounts to over 50 tons annually. Light ballasts, computers and IT equipment, TVs, projectors, wires/cables and much more!

We also recycle wooden shipping pallets and actually receive monetary credit for each one.  Other items include light bulbs, Interface carpet tiles and specialty metals such as copper and brass.

Through all of these efforts, BGSU is able to continue to divert items from the landfill, thus increasing what’s referred to as our “diversion rate”.   Think about the potential for reuse or donation when looking for/ordering items for offices and departments, or when getting rid of things/cleaning out.  You could save money and help the environment at the same time!

Where Are They Now?!

by Sam Farabaugh - Sustainability Intern

Over the years, many interns have walked in and out of The Office of Campus Sustainability doors. These interns have made major contributions and impacts that have marked successful milestones for the Office of Campus Sustainability. We wanted to know what these interns have been up to and how the work they did as an intern has impacted their lives. Therefore, we started the newsletter series- “Where Are They Now?!”

This spring, the Office of Campus Sustainability reconnected with former intern, "Remey" Remington Schneider.

Remey graduated from BGSU in 2021 with a Bachelor’s degrees in Environmental Policy & Analysis and International Studies. He now works for the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in the Division of Air Pollution Control. His main role is to process and issue air permits, ensuring air quality throughout Northwest Ohio. He worked as a Sustainability Intern in the Office of Campus Sustainability from August 2018 to January 2020.

Remey Schneider | Campus Sustainability Intern, (2018-2020)

We talked with Remey recently about his experience as a Sustainability Intern. Remey worked on a variety of programs during his time here. Some of these programs included WYMO (When You Move Out, Don’t Throw it Out), Campus Race to Zero Waste, Friday Night Lights, and Green Game Day. He also contributed to on-going projects like the newsletter and updating our website. These roles taught him a lot about sustainability on a college campus and the intersection between sustainability and higher education. He could really see the purpose and meaning behind the work.

While working in this position, he learned valuable skills through hands-on experience. It showed him just how possible it is to build a career in the environmental field. He enjoyed the freedom of the position in what projects he could take on and the time management and independence that came from that as well. “It was a phenomenal hands-on experience with concepts around sustainability, higher education, and the environment.” 

Remey also greatly enjoyed the office atmosphere and the support and friendship of the other interns and staff in the office. He thought Dr. Nick’s ability to come up with almost never-ending variations of interns’ names was hilarious. He remembers his time fondly here and talked about the position in almost every interview for jobs. As for current students interested in a sustainability or environmental career, Remey advises them to take the courses that involve “hard skills,” like computer and GIS skills, as these are skills that employers will look for in future positions. 

He would love to get in contact with anyone interested in a career focused on the environment to answer any questions about life after college. He advises those interested to think creatively about their career. He also wants students to know, from his personal experience, that being resilient when applying to jobs can pay off and to know that you do not necessarily have to work for the EPA or an employer directly connected to the environment to make an impact on the environment. “The amazing thing about sustainability is that it can be found intersecting with any industry or field.” 

Do you have any special memories of Campus Sustainability interns? Let us know at Greenbg@bgsu.edu.

 

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Sustainability Questions & Suggestions

 Do you have any questions, comments, concerns, or suggestions related to sustainability? If so, feel free to contact us at greenbg@bgsu.edu.

Alternatively, you can reach us on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram @GreenBGSU.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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Updated: 04/28/2022 12:31PM