BGSU grants support ‘green’ bike shelters, recycling

BOWLING GREEN, O.—From green-roofed bike shelters to more convenient recycling, Bowling Green State University is continuing its progress toward campus sustainability. Beginning later this year, the campus will be able to park bikes under a canopy of succulents and toss recyclables into a nearby bin, with support from two new grants.

Building upon the success of its bike share program and the green roof on The Oaks dining center, the University will use a $50,000 grant from the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency to install two large bike shelters with plant-covered tops. BGSU received one of the seven grants awarded statewide.

Already in use in Columbus and coming soon to Ohio State University, the shelters accommodate 18-20 bicycles each. The metal bottoms are bolted into existing concrete or asphalt pads.

“We wouldn’t want to remove grass to install the bike racks, so we attempted to identify areas where there was unused concrete space,” said Dr. Nicholas Hennessy, campus sustainability coordinator.

The solid roofs hold interlocking trays of succulents and sedums. The racks address two of the EPA’s priorities: trapping storm water runoff, with their green roofs, and reducing emissions, through promoting the use of bicycles, Hennessy said.

The grant comes through the Ohio EPA’s Ohio Environmental Education Fund. The University’s student-supported Green Fund will provide the small percentage of matching dollars required by the grant.

In addition to beautifying campus, the racks can serve as educational modules for environmental studies and other classes, and raise awareness of using vegetative roofs as a storm water control method, according to the Ohio EPA. Interpretive signs will explain their design and function.

The fit with BGSU was especially good, Hennessy said, since the racks were designed by the noted landscape architecture firm MKSK, which is also the company the University is using to design its landscaping master plan.

It will also be easier for the University community to help keep campus — and America —beautiful this fall with the addition of 30 recycling bins on the Bowling Green campus. Suitable for special events such as football games, the “big bottle” bins were purchased with funds from The Coca-Cola Foundation and the Keep America Beautiful nonprofit organization.

The roughly $3,000 grant will help BGSU expand its efforts to make campus events more environmentally friendly. The University has made strides in recent years thanks in part to its “green tailgating” program, which has diverted tons of recyclable waste from going into the landfills and saved the University money on trash collection, Hennessy said.

The new bins will bring the total up to 80 and help satisfy the high demand for them around campus, Hennessy said. Areas such as the Ice Arena have requested the recycling containers.

A core of committed student volunteers has helped make the recycling program a success. Their efforts have been supported with previous grants, including one from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, the forerunner of the EPA recycling program.

BGSU was among 156 colleges, schools, local governments and community groups chosen to receive grants. Recipients were chosen by Keep America Beautiful based on a number of criteria including level of need, recycling experience and the ability of applicants to sustain their program in the future.

Keep America Beautiful and Coca-Cola partnered with the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC) to offer grants to CURC member campuses. The Bin Grant program awards recycling bins directly to recipients and leverages volume buying discounts. In its seven years of operation, the Bin Grant program has placed more than 29,000 recycling bins in more than 500 communities in 48 states and the District of Columbia. 

“One of the main barriers to recycling is convenience. Providing a recycling bin helps communities overcome that barrier,” said Matthew McKenna, president and CEO of Keep America Beautiful.

Updated: 12/02/2017 12:55AM