“We’re all about spreading good changes for the environment within the campus,” Billy Achnitz, the C.W. Post Recycling Program coordinator, said.
The Recycling Program was brought to campus by the PEACE CORP around 2004. Even though the program’s main purpose is to recycle, it is a hands on experience as well as educational. Achnitz said that, “essentially, our staff collects the recycling and sorts through them and that is including all the residential areas. There’s the recycling component about it as well as the educational part of the program.”
The program has two environmental educators and two environmental assistances. They are responsible for publicity and carrying out information and Achnitz’s job is to oversee the entire program, and making sure everything runs smoothly.
Even though the Recycling Program is a separate entity within Student Life, they are an actual division. The program does not run as a regular club but is considered as any other job. For those students, who would like to join the Recycling Program, the program is interested in work-study students. Unfortunately, not all C.W. Post students have the benefits of work-study but Achnitz mentions, “I advise anybody that cannot join work-study to join PEACE. We are the ones that really focus on environmental issues.”
As for its next activity, the Recycling Program is participating in a Green Team competition this week. This involves collecting items like plastic bottles, cardboard, newspaper, writing instruments. “We go every year and this is our third time doing it. The athletic department loves it and they all get involved. The teams get really into it,” Achnitz said.
Last year, the Recycling Program collected 15 tons worth of recycling and they would want to double that amount within the next year to approximately 30 tons. “My main goal is to spread awareness, to get more people recycling and to show how recycling has an impact on the environment. Also to recycle more in general.”
Another goal that Achnitz would like to achieve is to meet with different administrations for the school to become more sustainable and to have more student input. Two main things that have been discussed by the Recycling Program is to spread the use of solar panels on buildings other than just Public Safety’s. It would also like to have a food composer. Both of these idea would conserve energy within the campus.
Believe it or not, progress for environmental changes has been made and are still in progress. “A lot of people complain that they do not see change,” Achnitz said. “But change is not going to happen overnight. If we can get everybody on board there can be a change.”
In many ways the program has impacted the campus. “The fact that we are able to recycle 15 tons with the small amount of people we have is great,” Achnitz said. “We went from four resident halls to all of them, and now the Pratt Recreational Center, and the chapel. Every little bit helps!”