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Eye-opening experience

Barry McNamara
04/15/2011
A recent community service project completed by Monmouth College students embodied two major points of emphasis on campus – civic involvement and recycling.

Students in the MC chapter of Alpha Lambda Delta, the national freshman honor society, participated in the group’s first Community Day on April 9. They helped out at the Maple City Area Recycling Center, separating and crushing recyclables that had been collected from the college. The participants included Greg Dortch, Kyle Earman, Brianna Fulford, Alexis Fulkerson, Victoria Green, Amy Kerulis, Matthew Merreighn, Destiny Novack, Julie Samuelson, Trey Yocum and Sarah Zaubi.

“It’s interesting to see the effect a few people have on something that, normally, you don’t really think about,” said Dortch, who organized the event. “You know, you recycle your can or bottle, and it’s no big deal. But to then jump into the shoes of those who handle what you recycle is eye opening.”

Center employee Mark Grover led the MC group on a tour of the facility while describing what a day of work is like for him.

“He began his tour by showing us how bales of recyclable materials are made and then went further to show us the immense amount of recyclables the center deals with on a daily basis,” said Dortch. “The tour concluded with Mark’s insanely quick sorting skills.”

The students were then left to try their hand at the task, which Dortch called “quite fulfilling and, not surprisingly, pretty dirty.”

He added, “One really important thing to take away from this community service project is to just be aware of what you’re recycling. Simply pouring out the rest of your drink – or better yet, finishing it – would save some people a lot of work. Not adding tobacco, food or anything that really doesn’t belong in a bottle also helps a lot. These very small changes in the way people recycle would amount to a big difference.”

Dortch was so satisfied with the project that he envisions a potential contest with other campus organizations.

“We could compete for the highest-weighing bale of recyclables or the most items recycled. It would be a great time, and it would also make such an impact.”

“Before volunteering time at the recycling center, I would have never guessed how much tedious work this job requires,” said Kerulis. “All the work the two men at the recycling center do alone is astounding. Through this volunteer project, we tripled the work the two men would have done, and we also gained newfound respect for the recycling process.”

“It was a great feeling to volunteer in the community,” said Green. “If more people would volunteer their time, they would realize that trash and recycling isn’t something that just gets magically taken care of. If people realized how much effort it takes just to clean up after them, maybe they would be less wasteful and more conscious of what they are putting in recycling and trash bins.”