Sustainability department pushes for more ‘green’ options on campus

Marshall University green will become more than just a color this coming fall as the Sustainability Department makes a push toward sustainable living on campus.

Glass recycling will be introduced throughout Marshall as well as additional recycling centers and compost stations.

Amy Parsons-White, sustainability coordinator, said while there are some recycling centers on campus currently, the department plans to better separate them from regular trash cans in the fall.

“We are implementing glass recycling which I’m really excited about, and we’re also going to provide more recycling locations,” Parsons-White said. “Right now, if you look around, there aren’t very many recycling places, so I’m trying to fix that and make the recycling centers stand out, because right now they just look like trash cans, and we get a lot of trash in them. So we’re going to provide a greater amount of large recycling containers.”

Parsons-White said creating compost stations available to students and staff will also reduce waste on campus.

“We’re trying to implement composting, both pre- and post-consumer composting, so everything from the kitchens will go out for compost,” Parsons-White said. “I also plan to put composting stations out on campus, so if you’re eating an apple or you bring your own lunch, you can just toss it in the compost.”

The Sustainability Department is also working on implementing a new eco-bike loan program.

Parsons-White said if the project is accepted, the campus community will have 30 bikes available for rent at the start of next semester.

“This isn’t set in stone yet, this is what we’re working on, but if it gets approved it will be here in the fall,” Parsons-White said. “We’ll have 30 bikes on campus, and they’ll just be sitting out. You can log in with your 901 number, the bike will automatically unlock, and you can ride it all day then bring it back and log out, and it locks back.”

Parsons-White said there will be three designated pick-up and drop-off locations for the bikes, which will be equipped with solar panels and a GPS.

“You can either log in from your phone or log in on the key pad on the back of the bike, and it’s all solar powered and GPS equipped, so we know where the bike is at all times,” Parsons-White said. “If you take it downtown and it would get stolen we can go get it, so it gets rid of a lot of the issues that people have had with having bikes on campus, because theft has been a big problem.”

Parsons-White said the bikes will provide students with a way to get around Huntington without driving a car.

“It’ll be really cool to provide bikes for people who want to ride downtown or around campus so you don’t have to drive your car,” Parsons-White said. “Parking is an issue, and it can reduce those issues; it’s a really nice program.”

Parsons-White said everyone on campus and in Huntington should practice green living in order to keep the planet healthy.

“Sustainable living just means keeping the planet in such shape that it continues to provide life; that’s really the bare minimum of what we need to be doing, it’s important, we all live here,” Parsons-White said. “We only have one Earth.”

Hanna Pennington can be contacted at [email protected].