Thanks to some hard work and an unusual find by Jason Speegle, almost 30 trees were saved from the paper mill.
Speegle, director of the Green Team at Southwestern College, was walking near campus when he saw numerous boxes filled with old textbooks sitting in a dumpster. As director of the sustainable environment group on campus, he was well aware of his chance to make a difference. He recruited Kate Norton, assistant women’s soccer coach, along with several of the soccer players and they began the seemingly endless task of preparing all of the thrown out text books to be recycled.
Textbook recycling is far from an easy chore, according to Speegle.
“You have to tear off the front and back covers,” Speegle says. “Then you have to physically tear the books into several parts in order to satisfy the requirements of the city of Winfield. The books averaged around 175 pages per book.”
Slowly but surely, the small group of students, Speegle, and Norton prepared each of the discarded textbooks to be recycled and a crowd of students began gathering and helping. Eventually 20 students had turned up to help.
“It ended up taking us around three hours to finish,” Speegle reports.
According to Speegle’s estimation, they saved just over 26 trees.
As part of the new Southwestern program, Speegle is recruiting and leading students in activities such as recycling, conserving resources on campus and in the community, and pioneering college use of renewable energy sources. The program promotes sustainability education as well as student leadership development.
“I don’t want to be the center of attention about environmental issues here,” Speegle says. “Everyone on this campus can be an environmentalist. My goal is to increase awareness about recycling and sustainability and to slowly attempt to change the culture of the college toward a greener future.”
For more information about the Green Team, contact Speegle at (620) 229-6311.