A group of environmentally-conscious students have organized to promote recycling in the dorms.

Eco-Reps — a collaborative effort between UNM Recycling, Residence Life and Student Housing and a service learning class — is a group of students who want more recycling opportunities on campus, said Elyse Jalbert, the group’s president.
“Eco-Reps are elected student leaders who basically encourage sustainable living and recycling in the dorm,” Jalbert said.

Since 2004, UNM Recycling has attempted to install permanent recycling bins near the residence halls — including a 30-yard bin between lower Johnson and Santa Ana residence halls — but they have been placed sporadically and are removed without notice, said Linda McCormick, president of UNM Recycling.

McCormick said the bins were moved to south campus and there are no plans to return them closer to the dorms.

“They were moved out of there for a variety of reasons and they are now located on the south side of the Pit,” McCormick said.

There are several cardboard recycling bins near the dorms, and McCormick said students should use them until more substantial bins are provided.

“The ones that I put near the dorms — they can put bottles and cans in a bin and they can also put cardboard or paper or anything else in the other bins,” McCormick said.

Mary Clark, sustainability program specialist, said plans are underway to have “Green Dorm” competitions in the 2010 spring semester. A number of events will be held to increase environmental awareness, such as energy-saving and recycling competitions.

Clark said the idea for an Eco-Reps program received a positive response from on-campus residents like Jalbert when it was presented in August at the Living Green and Healthy event, hosted by Residence Life and Student Housing.

“I asked Elyse if she would assist us in putting together an Eco-Reps program and she was very enthusiastic,” Clark said.

An American Studies class — taught by graduate assistant Andrew Marcum — promotes Research and Service Learning Projects and is also involved in the Eco-Reps, Clark said.

Marcum contacted Clark about his RSLP class working to develop a campaign project that encourages recycling in the dorms, Clark said. All RSLP classes are required to plan a service project to help out the campus and surrounding communities.
“So I suggested they write the Eco-Reps Program and suggested some materials for them to review,” Clark said.

Clark said the Eco-Reps Program will get subject matter advice on sustainable alternatives.

“The Office of Sustainability, PPD Recycling, and Lobo Energy Educators will provide training and support to the Eco-Reps,” Clark said.

McCormick said other items such as batteries and ink jet cartridges can also be recycled in the bins near the dorms, but students should put these items in plastic bags before placing them in the bins.

Students can also recycle light bulbs by giving them to the custodians in the building, she said.