Update - The newsletter for the University of Memphis
More March Features:

Campus School is Among Best
Recycling Initiative Gains Steam
U of M Effort to Clean Memphis
U of M's 'Blue' Patrol Turns Green
DAA Gala: Year of the Tiger
Skloot's Book is Best-Seller
AUSP Joins Effort in Caribbean
Magnani Discovers Fault Line
Web Exclusive: Campus School


March 2010 Briefs

Boom-a-lacka, boom-a-lacka... This was the beginning of the 1920-1921 Lady Tigresses cheer that started every game that season. Read more

Green Thumb: A variety of plants identified by NASA as top air cleaners are part of a campus study in reductions in heating and cooling costs. Read more

The University of Memphis's Graduate Program in City and Regional Planning in the School of Urban Affairs and Public Policy has appointed Dr. Jeffrey S. Lowe as associate director of its newly-established Mid-Sized Cities Policy Research Institute.

The Assisi Foundation of Memphis has awarded a $500,000 renewable grant this year toward a $2.5 million conditional pledge over five years to the U of M to assist the School of Public Health, formed in July 2009, in obtaining its national accreditation.

For More Information:
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Memphis, TN 38152
Phone: 901/678-3811
Fax: 901/678-3607
e-mail: grussll@memphis.edu

Recycling initiative gains steam under new director

When the University began stronger sustainability efforts two years ago, faculty, staff and students indicated that increased recycling opportunities were at the top of their wish lists. U of M administrators listened and hired a sustainability coordinator whose main focus has been to heighten recycling efforts and awareness. We sat down and talked to the new interim coordinator, Amelia Mayahi, about her recycling plans, including the purchase of a recycling truck, and the University’s other sustainability efforts.

Amelia, I understand you are the new sustainability coordinator for the University of Memphis. Please tell me how this position came about and why it was created?

The creation of this position was recommended by the Environmental Action Club (student group) and will be funded by the Student Green Fee. Before this position was created, there was no person whose sole responsibility was sustainability.

What are your major goals in this position?

I hope to address the targets set forth by the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (signed by Dr. Raines). Some of these targets include reduction of carbon emission, purchasing green certified products and implementing major enhancements to the recycle program. In addition to compliance with the Climate Commitment, I also plan to address goals set by the Sustainability Committee through the Strategic Plan. These goals involve improvement of sustainability in our campus’ built environment, natural environment, campus culture, curriculum and research, and community engagement.

I understand that recycling is currently your major push. Why? Do we need major improvement?

Recycling is my major focus — that is the primary sustainability initiative demanded by the majority of students. Second, recycling is well within the means of our campus. If we can circulate trash, we can certainly circulate recycling material. Thanks to the Student Green Fee, we can provide the necessary resources and are in the midst of doing so now. Finally, recycling is economical and an environmental necessity. Our campus can save money by reducing our garage pick-up frequency. In turn, we will also prevent these materials from entering a landfill where they would remain for thousands of years and release toxins into the air and soil. It is just the sensible thing to do.

I do feel we need improvement in our sustainability efforts. As mentioned earlier, there has been no person to which sustainability was his or her sole responsibility, so the issue was not given as much attention as needed. Also, we lacked the manpower to collect a significant volume of recycling that the University produces. We are currently addressing all these issues and more.

What are some of the things being done to address recycling?

We are currently in the process of expanding our primary collection sites, recyclable materials, and bin locations. There have been improvements in our student awareness activities such as Recyclemania and America Recycle’s Day. We plan on further awareness through dormitory and Greek competitions, freshman orientation, Frosh camp, and dormitory move-in/move-out day. Also, a committee has been organized to plan and execute recycling activities and events. In addition to our recycle committee, we have organized the Green Team, a group of volunteers that includes students, faculty and staff, which assist with sustainability awareness events.

I understand that the effort includes a new recycling truck. How will it be utilized?

A recycling truck has been purchased and it is scheduled to be delivered by mid-March. This recycling truck will greatly increase the proficiency of our collection program. As of now, our collection program has been run by two people with golf carts with the material being handled more than once. With the collection truck, we will be able to lift heavy bins and cover more area with more frequency at a faster pace.

What are some of the things that can be recycled on campus?

The University has increased the amount and the types of materials that we recycle. Currently we are recycling paper (office paper, colored paper, magazines, flyers, newspaper and campus and city phone books), cardboard, plastics (#1, #2, #4), aluminum, all batteries, ink/toner cartridges and old keys. These opportunities are all available for students. Options for faculty and staff also include pallets, landscape waste, scrap metal and electronics.

What is your background in sustainability?

I worked for building services at the University of Tennessee at Martin for seven years. In that position, I was heavily involved in sustainability efforts. Over the years, we helped in raising a major recycling facility for the whole community to enjoy, as well as our campus. I also served as the Student Government Association Committee Chair for sustainability efforts in Campus Observation. Directly afterwards, I moved to Memphis and have been serving in the interim sustainability coordinator position since August of 2009.

Do you have a recycling Web site?

We do have a recycling Web site located at http://bf.memphis.edu/pp/recycle.php. It is currently under construction to add more information. The basic information — what we recycle, where and what the bins look like — is on the Web site.

(Contact Mayahi at 678-2539/askosta@memphis.edu for more details on the U of M’s green efforts.)

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Last Updated: 1/23/12