What We’re About

The mission of the Recycling Crew is to provide the campus with effective and innovative recycling, composting, and waste disposal services and to reduce the volume and environmental impact of waste generated on campus. We strive to run an efficient and environmentally sound operation, to educate the community about effective resource use, and to inspire the community to find creative alternatives to unsustainable consumption patterns. A crew of 22-28 students is responsible for collecting and processing over 25 recyclable materials, operating the Free Store and wood shop, composting campus food waste and organic materials, disposing of solid waste, researching and implementing new waste reduction programs, and educating the campus about waste-related issues. The majority of our work is outdoors/physical labor oriented, but there are plenty of opportunities for special projects that are more research, organizing, and education oriented.

I love being on recycling crew because I get to provide an extremely necessary service to the college while also gaining knowledge, skills, and cool free store items. While being on recycling crew I’ve learned a lot about human nature through what people throw away, info about composting, and how to work effectively as a team to complete a task.

Lydia Morrow

I love my crew because I feel as though we are doing a job that is integral to both the campus’ basic functions but is also crucial to the college’s sustainability efforts. I love doing this job because I know not many people could thrive surrounded by trash and maggots, but that’s just part of this amazing crew. On my crew I learned that there are an infinite number of ways to improve sustainability! When I started at WWC, I was under the impression that all I could do to reduce my impact on the planet was turning off lights and recycling. Now, I consider type of packaging when making purchases, refuse plastic silverware and straws, buy most things secondhand, repair my own clothing, and carry tupperware with me in case I ever have leftover food. The crew provided me with education and information about easy lifestyle changes that can make a huge difference.

Natalie Williams

I love being on Recycling crew because we take direct action towards sustainability every single day. Being able to see tangible results of the work we do on campus is important. On my crew I learned to power through work I was previously uncomfortable with and develop a stronger work ethic. I also learned the power of “out of sight, out of mind” — when you see what’s coming through the trash each day it becomes clear what work needs to be done in the realm of public education.

Abigail Gregson

Supervisor Spotlight

Ben Paulson

Ben Paulson is a 2016 graduate of Warren Wilson with a degree in environmental studies with a concentration in policy. As a student he was originally interested in sustainable agriculture, but was placed on the recycling crew and it really opened his eyes to the serious nature of the environmental impact of waste management. His interest in policy connected well with the regulatory nature of the work and he is involved in both national and regional groups focused on recycling including Carolinas Recycling Coalition. On campus, he developed a comprehensive zero waste initiative for the college. Ben enjoys working with students from many different backgrounds and feels like the best part of his job is discovering their interests and strengths and tailoring a work plan for them.

A true renaissance man, he has a background in opera, plays drums in a band, and has recorded two albums of rock/jazz and RB/funk music.

Learning Outcomes

You’ll spend years working alongside your peers and mentored by supervisors. Part of the experience of work at Warren Wilson is guided critical reflection, which helps ensure that you achieve both your own educational goals as well as our Common Learning Outcomes. These intentional learning outcomes distinguish our work program, giving it focus and relevancy that set it apart from federal work study or your average part-time job. Specifically, our Common Learning Outcomes are:

  • Dependability: reliability, accountability, and the ability to successfully manage your time
  • Integrity: trustworthiness and respect for transparent honesty
  • Initiative: self-control, the ability to evaluate situations, and motivation to carry out responsibilities
  • Analytical Thinking: working with available resources to creatively address issues and solve problems
  • Communication: the ability to convey information effectively and build community with others
  • Collaboration: collaborate with peers to achieve common goals
  • Appreciation of the Value of All Work: an understanding of your place in the working world, and a respect for the dignity of all work

Learning and Performance Goals

In addition to our Common Learning Outcomes, each crew in the Work Program identifies crew-specific goals for learning and performance. These are reviewed with you each semester. The Learning and Performance Goals outline skills and abilities the supervisor will teach during the semester.