Upstate News

February 1, 2008
Darryl Geddes 315 464-4828

Students credited for ?the greening of Upstate’

Credit some environmentally minded students with the greening of SUNY Upstate.

While the university, especially the hospital, has been on the green bandwagon for several years with a concerted effort to use recycled products and a significant strategy of energy conservation, the recycling of bottles, cans and batteries from those who work and study in Weiskotten Hall and the Campus Activities Building was non-existent. Weiskotten Hall is home to dozens of classrooms, research labs, faculty and administrative offices and the region’s only health sciences library.

That is until students Thomas Man, Megan Merrihew, Kevyn To and David Scordino stepped forward.

“If we’re here to study how to save lives, we should also be interested in saving the resource we live off of—the plant Earth,” Man said. “This is something that we can all do with very little effort.”

Scordino shared Man’s environmental activism, and in fact led efforts to launch recycling programs for students at his undergraduate college, Wilkes University.

“This effort here at SUNY Upstate has been a great experience and everyone has responded in many ways to make it work,” said Scordino.

And work it does. Today, empty bottles and cans can be dropped into one of the attractive recycling bins located throughout Weiskotten Hall-in the first floor vending machine suite, the Health Sciences Library lobby, the ninth floor auditorium and the cafeteria-or in the Campus Activities Building lobby. In addition, individuals can drop off their dead batteries at the vending machine suite and the library. Clark Hall, the student residence hall, already has a full recycling program in place.

Students and the university are still discussing how best to spend the five-cent deposit on returnable bottles and cans that are placed in the recycling bins. Some suggestions include student programming or the Golisano Children’s Hospital.

Man noticed the need for recycling, especially in Weiskotten Hall, when he saw students and staff members who purchased drinks from vending machines had to pitch their can or bottle in the trash as there were no recycling containers. Others would leave their empty can or bottle on windowsills or ledges in hopes that someone would come by and recycle them.

Man brought his concern for the need to recycle Graduate Student Council, which took up the issue. Man agreed to reach out to the university administration to seek its input and help in creating a recycling program in Weiskotten Hall. But first he wanted evidence that others were as concerned about the environment, as he was-and he got it. Three hundred students signed a petition urging the creation of a recycling program. The petition found its way to the Office of the President.

“The students were right on target with their concern and their solution,” said Deb Stehle, assistant vice president for strategic management and planning. “From the beginning they were extremely interested in this initiative.”

Stehle also credits Physical Plant and Environmental Services with expediting the recycling program. “The Physical Plant and Environmental Services staff were essential to the success of this program,” she said.

Officials of the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency also were consulted on the recycling program to ensure that it fulfilled the agency’s recycling requirements, as was the Fire Marshal to ensure placement of the recycling receptacles did not conflict with any fire code restrictions.

Man and Scordino will continue to work with university to bring recycling to Silverman Hall and the Setnor Academic Building. “Our biggest mission now is to get students and others to use these recycling receptacles and to underscore the importance of creating a healthier plant,” they said.

From the looks of the nearly full vending machine suite recycling receptacle, people get the message and know what to do.

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