Sunday, October 27, 2013

Taking the Initiative at the UIC School of Architecture

At the end of Spring 2013 Semester, the UIC School of Architecture studios were battle scenes of art supplies and takeout containers. With only a few bins for trash and recycling, the recycling bins were being ignored and used for anything and everything. Trash was piled high, and unused, while destroyed materials covered the floor. Cardboard models were left to fall apart, and bottles or cans were left empty on tables. Almost everything had to be tossed. 

Considering the amount of specific material needed within the Architecture studios, it was no surprise that the standard bins and guidelines were no match for the chaos of finals week. 
Seeing the issue at hand, the UIC Office of Sustainability and the UIC School of Architecture decided to take the initiative towards recycling and preserving materials used within the Architecture studios. This happened through a series of minor, easily-executed actions.
  1. Organization of Work Space and Storage Space
  2. Additional Larger Recycling Bins and Separate Trash Bins
  3. Detailed Recycling Guidelines and Posters
This is the first semester with these recycling changes and additions, and it is great to see the students beginning to make the effort. Considering midterms just finished, the studios are still in good condition! The bins are being used properly, the studio environment is cleaner and more organized, and the informative posters remain in securely in place. Now you actually see students referring to the poster before disposing of an item, and talking to each other about what to throw away and what to recycle. Staff encourage students to recycle, and students also encourage one another.

There is a lot of progress that still needs to be made, but we are off to a good start with UIC School of Architecture! This is a proven example that if behavior is questionable, change can stem from even the smallest actions or a comment from a peer.

Are you involved in a college or department that is burdened by specific recycling needs or requirements? If so, contact Joe Iosbaker, Recycling Coordinator with the UIC Office of Sustainability, to start taking action!

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