I cannot remember a time when I did not have access to a recycling bin.
Every school, every restaurant, every business and every day back at home I had the option to recycle. This is not the case at Oklahoma Christian University.
Anyone who really knows me knows I have a love for watching documentaries. While I know fact-checking is extremely important before taking these ideas to heart, I cannot help but consume these films excessively.
My love for environmentalism began with a documentary-watching spree during my senior year of high school. Though I felt slightly helpless when it came to large environmental crises like climate change, I knew of one thing I could do every day to make this world a little bit better— recycle.
Freshman year, I remember feeling shocked upon finding out an institution as large as Oklahoma Christian did not have a formal recycling program in the dorms. In many ways, the passionate environmental activist in me has died down, but I still cringe every time I think about how much waste accumulates at the Brew.
While Oklahoma Christian does have efforts such as the community garden, which brings awareness to environmentalism, the lack of recycling displays apathy toward the importance of responsibly stewarding the earth.
Though some individuals and Resident Directors overcome this daunting task by providing recycling resources for themselves and other students on campus, there is no place at Oklahoma Christian for students to collectively recycle.
The SGA lead the recycling program, incentivizing clubs and individual students to pick up recycling bins at various sites around campus. While I would encourage the SGA to continue this essential work, this program should have never been implemented in the first place. It falls on the responsibility of the larger institution to recycle.
I understand the cost of recycling does not come at a cheap price, and hiring workers to come on our campus to manage a program of this magnitude would not be easy, but curbside recycling pick up began in the 90s. How is it that over 20 years later, this institution has failed to continue this legacy of keeping America beautiful by neglecting to participate in such a minuscule part of maintaining a healthy world?
According to recyclingfacts.org, Americans use 2,500,000 plastic water bottles every hour and most are not recycled. Unfortunately, this institution of learning falls in line with this statistic and so many others.
As a Christian university, with a mission of cultivating “a higher learning community that transforms lives for Christian faith, scholarship and service,” I find this flaw in our school disappointing.
The state of Oklahoma had the 20th worst ecological footprint in America, with 19.1 total acres per person. With all of the waste just the Brew produces daily, I have a hard time processing the immense ecological footprint Oklahoma Christian contributes to this statistic.
During a time when the world faces a climate crisis with the potential to change the fate of humanity, Oklahoma Christian has an obligation to administer a basic environmental need like recycling.
I have hope for the future of this institution and its ecological footprint. I believe there are enough individuals at Oklahoma Christian with the willpower and resources to make a change where this area is concerned.
While this change may not occur during my time at Oklahoma Christian, I know this institution is a good place with good people who only desire to do the right thing. But, at the end of the day desire will accomplish nothing, action speaks volumes.