College campuses are hurting our planet, too

Minerra Diaz, Courier Staff

It is evident that our society has finally recognized that our habits are doing significant damage to Earth. While climate change is a hot topic right now, we should continue to discuss how we can minimize our carbon footprint.

Between resident halls, Greek chapter houses and rentals, incorporating better habits into our everyday routine will make a difference.

While Western seems to make efforts such as water refill stations, trash cans made of recyclable material, campus beautification efforts and biodegradable “to-go” containers in resident halls, more must be done.

Although we cannot trust the services in Macomb, one way students can lessen the harm is by source separation. For example, throwing away food in the trash, taking all your plastic bags to a recycling bin in our local Walmart or Hy-vee, and batteries to Currens Hall, to name a few. Another obvious way to reduce waste is to avoid the use of foam products or unnecessary products altogether. While you might think it is cheap, it’s filling up our landfills and won’t break down in our lifetime. We have dishes for a reason, and they’re cheap to purchase at Goodwill or Dollar Tree. If you are too lazy to wash dishes, consider buying paper plates and cups. While you’re still producing waste, the materials are at least capable of breaking down.

The two worst culprits on our campus are the aftermath of tailgates or parties as well as the end of the semester move out weekend. We’ve all lived in the dorms, so I’m sure you’re no stranger to the mass piles of clothes, bedding and more that get left behind by students. Throwing away reusable materials not only fills our landfills but encourages production and could be of great use to someone else. If you find yourself with unwanted bedding, clothes, dorm artwork or more, donate your belongings to Goodwill’s or The Crossing’s thrift store. You could help future college students out in the surrounding area as well as people who may not be able to afford some of these items. Not only are you minimizing your footprint, but you’re helping someone else in need. On that note, donate professional wear to the Captain’s Closet located in Memorial Hall; it provides students with outfits for interviews, meetings and more!

The other is our failure to clean up after ourselves. There are trash and recycling cans located everywhere on campus and in the downtown square. It requires no effort for you to walk over and dispose of your waste. The same goes for tailgates. While there is staff to pick up the unfortunate aftermath, there is no reason you cannot do it yourself. Not only is it dangerous for wildlife, but it hurts our surrounding environment and makes campus ugly.

Western is our home away from home, but for locals, it is their home. Be considerate of both your community and the community we occupy while studying here in Macomb. It doesn’t take much to make a big difference.