SEC seeks volunteers to recycle after football games
Football games leave excessive amounts of trash in their wake. From concessions and dropped tickets to all the litter tailgate parties can generate, a single game can leave the field and parking lots looking like a garbage bomb was dropped on the area.
For this reason, the Grand Valley State University Student Environmental Coalition is looking to add to its ranks of dedicated students and staff who recycle and compost the waste and collect and cash in the returnables left behind after those football games.
The SEC began facilitating recycling last year when SEC member Andy West, now a GVSU alumnus, was approached by a member of the Sustainability Development Community Initiative who proposed the idea of cleaning up after football games.
This happened right before the first game, but the SEC was able to pull together a group of volunteers to get the project going right then.
The program is now a project of the collective SEC, and since its inception, its members have gone above and beyond the call by sorting through trash bins for recyclable and compostable items and picking up trash left on the ground after the games.
“(We do this) in an effort to reduce the amount of recyclable and compostable material entering the waste stream, meaning landfills,” said SEC officer Josh Lycka. “There was no recycling available at previous football games, which resulted in hundreds of pounds of recyclable and compostable materials being thrown out. We wanted to see how much of this waste we could recuperate, as well as provide facilities for others to take initiative and recycle.”
Last week alone, the SEC composted 100 pizza boxes, recycled ten industrial-sized bags of mixed recycling and three more bags of cardboard, as well as collected and returned over 1,800 returnable items, Lycka said.
“It depends on the number of volunteers, but usually (we raise) between $100 and $150,” said SEC officer Gwen Gell. “The money from the returnables goes into the SEC account.
We are saving the money for a conference called Powershift which will take place in the spring in Washington DC. Anyone is welcome to join us if they are interested.”
Even with all its success, the SEC only recruits between 10 and 15 volunteers each game.
“We need and want volunteers for the rest of the games,” Lycka said. Student volunteers are welcome, but faculty volunteers are greatly appreciated, as well.
“Bart Bartels has been a huge asset to the SEC,” Gell said. “He and his wife Kirsten Bartels help us out at the games. We are very grateful for their support.”
For more information on the SEC, visit their webpage at www.gvsu.edu/sec/ or email the group at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on campus sustainability and the Sustainability Development Community Initiative, visit www.gvsu.edu/sustainability/.