Landfill. Painted on all campus trash bins, it is a word that embodies the din of bulldozers, perched seagulls, and your hamburger wrapper’s inevitable resting place. Although perfect for thoughtful introspection, a good idea didn’t end there.
“I would walk past trash bins and see recyclables, and it made me upset,” said Lynsey Christensen, Clarke student and president of CLEAN, a campus conservation group, “so I thought, ‘What can we do?’”
After a long afternoon of counting bins (over 200, according to her), Lynsey drafted a sustainability grant proposal to add attachable recycling containers. The grant was soon awarded and the containers installed.
Lynsey gives credit to the Clarke administration’s future-forward thinking and the effort of Brian Schultes, head of facilities management and CLEAN adviser.
“He is really open and good with suggestions. If you have an idea, you can pitch it,” she said. She believes Brian is integral to Clarke’s sustainability initiatives, including his push for organic cleaning products and dining hall food composting. “He had enough already. He was like, ‘Stop talking, and let’s just get it done.”
During student orientation last year, Lynsey worked with new students to plant a campus rain garden and dumpster dive. It went towards what she believes is Clarke’s reputation as an extremely environmentally-conscious campus.
Change doesn’t always happen overnight, however. Just like trash itself, every bit matters.
“You take it piece by piece,” she said.