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NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - Wingate University, Wingate, North Carolina, USA

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Wingate University, Wingate, North Carolina, USA
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Registered: December 2019
City/Town/Province: Charlotte
Posts: 1
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The week before Thanksgiving is a time of joyful outlooks and preparation for quality time with friends and family. On the week before my Thanksgiving, I concluded my first-ever recycling and sustainability project and felt an incredible revelation uncover: I wrote my University's first conservation proposal and had Thanksgiving break to celebrate my accomplishments in family. Finishing the conservation proposal was extremely empowering, and it excites me to continue creating more conservation initiatives on my campus, and beyond, in the near future.

The Recycling and Sustainability proposal that I created was an effort by my University's student government association and a conservation and sustainability club called "Bulldogs Into Going Green" (BIGG) - a fitting name as our campus mascot is the bulldog! In the fall of 2019, the president of the Student Government Association (SGA), Diareth Flores Nava, created an ad-hoc committee and I was nominated and chosen as the Director of the new Recycling and Sustainability Committee for the 2019-2020 academic year. Ms. Flores Nava understood the importance of conservation initiatives on improving recycling on campus and I chose to accept her nomination because I shared her passion. In high school, I was indoctrinated, by my environmental science teacher, to regard recycling and sustainability as integral efforts in our fight against climate change.

As the Director for the new ad-hoc committee, I listened closely to my colleagues as they helped me conceptualize what the proposal would include and what purpose it would serve. Besides working with Ms. Flores Nava, I also worked with BIGG's club president and a faculty advisor. In my role as director, I wrote and delivered the 2019-2020 Recycling and Sustainability proposal that would ultimately be presented to the Wingate University Board of Trustees. The proposals objective is stated below.

"The Recycling and Sustainability Proposal for Wingate University is a set of requests for the future that take into account the current impact that Wingate University exerts on the environment. The overall goal of this proposal is to improve Wingate University's efforts in recycling and sustainability. These requests are made taking into consideration that they are within the University's financial and bureaucratic context and long-term benefit"

Working with committee members from BIGG and SGA, I sought support from students on campus for the proposal and researched current recycling initiatives on campus (we were able to garner close to 30 signatures from club presidents and athletic club presidents that were in support of my committee's conservation proposal). Ultimately, the proposal included five requests. Our first two requests focused on improving access to current recycling initiatives on campus. Specifically, we requested that the University take priority in informing the entire student body about e-recycling venues available at our university library and recycling dumpsters available at a University facility off-campus. Thirdly, we requested 34 recycling bins to be placed in residential buildings, dormitories, and academic buildings. We wanted to not only improve access to current recycling methods, but also increase access to these elements. Fourthly, we requested several, large 96-gallon recycling cans to be placed beside each dumpster on campus. At the University, each residential student is responsible for taking out their trash. We determined that affording students access to these recycling facilities would improve recycling and sustainability on campus. Fifthly, we requested that the University consider taking initiatives outlined within the 2006 "Climate Commitment" made by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. Though my University has limited resources, it is capable of adopting numerous key policies outlined in the Commitment. I believe that including this request in my report was paramount, as one need not take drastic sustainability changes to positively impact the world. In a highly-bureaucratic organization with limited resources, like my University, it is better to make marginal decisions in transitioning to a more sustainable and "climate neutral" campus. Once I finished writing the proposal, I submitted it to my committee's advisor for review. The ultimate goal for the proposal is to enact tangible change on campus. For this reason, my proposal is due to be presented to the Wingate University Board of Trustees in early 2020.

Planning, directing, and writing a 20-page proposal to positively impact my University campus was an extraordinary experience. It was the first time that I take an ecological initiative to change the world around me for the better. To me, completing the proposal was empowering and enriching. I think that it lamentable that local, state, and federal governments have not committed to addressing climate change in the United States. Moreover, I am grateful that grassroot organizations, nonprofits, and young activists take the lead to build a more sustainable future at the local level. In my role as director, I regarded my contribution and investment in the proposal an honor because the 2019-2020 proposal would lay a framework for future sustainability proposals. My proposal had widespread student and faculty support, and it signifies a consolidated statement from my committee, and our supporters, to the University, wherein we request that recycling and sustainability initiatives are taken to improve our campus and increase positive public opinion on our recycling efforts. After all, in a business like a university, it is imperative that proposed changes outline calculated benefits. In this case, resolving to create a more sustainable campus would attract a more positive perception of the University by prospective students,their parents, investors, and other institutions. For example, an extraordinary impact that my committee's efforts enacted was the proposal by a company to decorate an under-used space on campus with outdoor furniture that is completely made of recycled plastic milk jugs.

Additionally, I believe that the Recycling and Sustainability Committee (currently an ad hoc committee) will be formally established as one of the branches of student government at my University. In this way, the activism of students to improve recycling initiatives on campus will be ever-present in the University's future. Ultimately, however, I hope that my committee's proposal serves as a spark that ignites other sustainability initiatives on campus, including improving our community garden and transitioning to a zero-waste cafeteria. Perhaps one day, my University will adopt the 2006 Climate Commitment and resolve itself to creating a "climate neutral" campus.
Date: December 21, 2019 Views: 4792 File size: 8.2kb, 2070.5kb : 4032 x 3024
Hours Volunteered: 120
Volunteers: 10
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: I am 21 & volunteers are 19 to 45 years old.
Area Restored for Native Wildlife (hectares): 160 (size of Wingate University campus)
Trash Removed/Recycled from Environment (kg): Variable
Native Trees Planted: N/A
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