Professor Scott Carlin, in addition to teaching environmental science here at LIU Post, is very involved in the campus Recycling Program. Here’s what he had to say about how the program is progressing, what’s new, and where it’s heading.
TP: How did the recycling program here at LIU/Post begin?
SC: I used to teach at LIU’s Southampton College campus. They had an environmental sustainability program there, and when that campus closed, some of those students came to LIU Post and adopted aspects of Southampton’s program to initiate our Post recycling program.
TP: Can you give us an update on the recycling program? What’s working? What’s not?
SC: It’s really starting to pick up momentum. For instance, we started our recycling program in the two dorm buildings. Now, all dorm buildings are participating. The recycling program is the strongest in our dorms.
TP: Who is involved in carrying out the recycling program in the dorm buildings?
SC: In order to make the recycling feasible, all containers have to be cleaned before the carting company picks them up for recycling. We have expanded the number of work-study students who are paid to manage our recycling program. That includes washing the recyclable plastics by hand and moving them to designated central areas outside the dorms for pick up by the Facilities Service staff. So, not only have we expanded student involvement through work-study programs, but the number of recyclables has increased, as well, since we started our recycling program.
TP: Just outside of Starbucks in Hillwood Commons, there’s a new recyclable Dasani container. Has there been any thought given to soliciting corporate sponsorship on a campus-wide basis for LIU Post’s recycling program?
SC: Yes. As a matter of fact, it was an LIU Post student, Billy Achnitz, who wrote a grant to Coca-Cola and won the grant, resulting in its corporate sponsorship. This Dasani container is just the first one of many that will be placed throughout campus buildings in the coming weeks.
Billy’s initiative is really the back-story here; that is, a single individual student really can make a change to his/her college campus. Billy is now pursuing a master’s degree in environmental sustainability.
TP: Speaking of sustainability, besides the recycling program, where else on campus have there been improvements to move forward?
SC: Our campus Library, as well as the dorm buildings have been upgraded to energy-efficient fluorescent lighting.
TP: Are there any programs in place to involve faculty and administration in participating in the recycling program?
SC: We will be instituting a pilot program for all offices to go green. This is in sync with the future goals of the LIU Post Sustainability Committee to foster awareness and implement practices to include staff, administration and faculty. Basically, the pilot program will encourage staff members to take a pledge to commit. For instance, our current thinking is that part of the pledge will include agreeing to use double-sided printing, to recycle plastic waste, and to turn off lights. Once more than 50% of that staff takes the pledge, they will be considered a green office. As incentives to take the pledge, we’ll use signage, signifying that office as a green office.
TP: What clubs, programs are available to students to get involved?
SC: LIU Post joined AASHE (American Assoc. for Sustainable Higher Education) last year. Students and faculty alike can become members. All one needs to join is a valid LIU e-mail address. Their website is http://www.AASHE.org. Membership will keep members updated as to what’s going on other campuses concerning efforts for becoming environmentally sustainable campuses. It’s a great way to network with other campuses. LIU Post is sending student representatives to a national conference in LA this fall.
TP. Are there any efforts or progress being made into incorporating environmental issues across the curriculum at LIU Post?
SC: Sustainable literacy has been gaining momentum as a statewide conversation. Faculty from a number of different NYS colleges and universities are starting to talk about shared goals for statewide education. At LIU Post, we are creating a new faculty committee under the Faculty Council that will begin talking about sustainable learning goals here at LIU Post. We already have a new Masters in Environmental Sustainability and we have an Honors Green Track for undergraduates. So faculty can begin to look at other opportunities for improving education on campus. The specific charge of this new committee will be to come up with recommendations for the Faculty Council to review.
TP: Where can students keep up with the progress of these issues?
SC: Our public relations staff has developed a new website for a variety of campus projects – http://www.liu.edu/post/green. For example, students can download from that website our April 2012 Sustainable Post Vision report, which is a draft vision for LIU Post. Students can contact me to participate in the campus committee that created that report and makes a variety of recommendations to the campus each year.