It is clearly spring. The rhododendron are blooming various shades of pink, the cicadas are molting, and pollen blows from the trees. If you’re part of the Recycling Crew, you begin to notice the plentitude and abundance of spring too; there is more of everything. Boxes of jeans, books, unwanted gifts and trinkets find their way down to the recycling station, where 18-students manage all of the out-going campus materials from garbage to compost.
“We call it Mayhem,” says sophomore crewmember Chelsea Graves. “There’s just an incredible amount of stuff.” Thousands of pounds of clothes and tens of sofas and other furniture are the bulkiest donations. Rooms are getting cleaned out, and what’s not pack-able or worth storing ends up getting thrown away.
In addition to the end-of-school-year influx of unwanted goods, the crew must keep up with the normal rounds, i.e. the collection of garbage, recyclables, and dining hall compost. To keep afloat of the waste and junk, the crew rents dumpsters to place in front of the residence halls.
The Recycling Crew won an award in April from the Carolina Recycling Association Conference for “Most Outstanding College or University Recycling Program” in the Carolinas.
“We make sure nothing perfectly good gets thrown away,” says Geneva Bierce-Wilson. “We keep things with ‘Wilson-style’ and donate a lot to Habitat for Humanity, Goodwill, and shelters.”
Many reusable items are available for next year’s students, who will likely be in the market for clothing hangers, shower baskets, plastic binders, foam mattress pads, and mini-fridges.
Written by sophomore Vanessa Emery.