The environmental committee promoted recycling and being environmentally aware in 1990

Autumn Page, Marketing Director

The resident halls council environmental committee started to place recycling bins throughout the buildings. 

“We want to maintain and promote a nice environment to be seen outside and inside the campus,” said Kathy Terbrack, vice president of residence halls council and coordinator of the environmental committee. 

The Oakland University recycling program began in 1989 when several students encouraged a program to be made. 

Terbrack gave credit to social media and Earth Day. 

“I’d like to see enough support for recycling on both sides of the bridge,” said Mark Weptstein, member of the environmental committee on campus. 

Instructional booklets were left at the front desks of residence halls. The booklet had information on what can be recycled and taken by Bushman Disposal in Oxford, the company OU uses to remove waste, and where items can be recycled. 

“We’re trying to get everyone on the floors involved. Basically, we’re sending out flyers, giving out recycling baskets and we’ve been talking about holding contests to get people involved,” said Heiedi Pokorski, chair of the environmental committee. 

Amy Novak, a resident at Hill House, took notice of the changes and liked the new addition to the halls.

“It’s good that they started this kind of a program for the more environmentally conscious students at OU,” she said. 

Items that could be recycled are flyers, typing paper, note pads, computer paper, brown grocery bags, corrugated cardboard, glass containers with no lids and metal containers, like pop cans. 

The recycling bins were placed on every floor of the residence halls for accessibility.

“More people seem to be getting interested,” Weptstein said. “A lot of waste is being thrown into the recycle bins on each of the floors.”

Kelley Lind, a Vandenburg resident, spoke about the positives of the bins. 

“My roommates and I went and got one of the recycling bins they’ve been giving out. It’s not like it’s hard to recycle and a lot of good comes out of it, so why not?” Lind said.

Terbrack didn’t know how the program would pan out, and had set an evaluation for the end of the month. 

“We’re really pushing the program in hopes of the entire campus getting involved. It’s really easy to recycle,” Pokorski said. 

OU wasn’t the only one getting involved in recycling, Oakland Community College (OCC) began a program during the spring semester of 1990. 

The Auburn Hills campus collected 2,000 pounds of office paper the first month, according to Rebecca Wasko, co-chairperson of the Preserve and Protect Club.

Wasko urged the importance of education about recycling and taking action.  

“To be successful, you need continuing education about recycling and continuing support from the administration,” Wasko said. 

On campus today, there’s a task force with the goal of campus sustainability. A key element is the OU Recycles campaign, and the club partners with other communication areas of OU to spread awareness.