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USG creates sustainable initiative for Ohio State fraternity block

The recycling bins are an effort towards off-campus sustainability. Credit: Casey Cascaldo

Undergraduate Student Government has paired up with Ohio State fraternities to make football Saturdays more sustainable by providing recycling bins for aluminum cans at their block parties, events held by many fraternities before each home football game.

Will Baumgart, USG deputy director of sustainability, said he noticed last football season the amount of waste generated from these events and wanted to make them more sustainably sound by giving fraternities the opportunity to recycle their aluminum cans.

Baumgart said the initiative was set into motion for the second home game of the season. So far, Delta Sigma Phi, Theta Chi and Pi Kappa Phi are involved in the recycling initiative and Phi Gamma Delta and Sigma Phi Epsilon have expressed interest in participating in the future.

Last Saturday, Baumgart said bins were brought to the fraternities, where they can be used the entire football season.

Baumgart said clear bags will be provided to fraternities participating in the program and each Sunday designated members will take the bags to nearby Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) bins.

He said the USG sustainability committee worked with Kate Butler, the associate director of sorority and fraternity life, to create an incentive for fraternities to get involved. Participating fraternity members will be able to count their time spent working on this initiative toward their service hours.

“Sustainability is an initiative across the university, so from a student-life perspective it’s something we care about,” Butler said.

Baumgart said the goal of this initiative is to create a program that consistently puts a sustainable use toward aluminum cans that will act as a stepping stone to create a more sustainable mindset for Ohio State’s off-campus residents.

“What would be really awesome is if we could start a program or a website where organizations, not even Greek organizations, say they’re having an off-campus event and want to collect all the recyclable goods from that,” Baumgart said. “They could just go on the website and put in the time that we’ll be collecting the cans, no questions asked.”

Baumgart said that the idea of having a zero-waste off-campus community will take a lot of time, but one that he feels is worthwhile.

“In my opinion, sustainability is the No. 1 issue in the world, so you got to start when people are at the most impactful and meaningful time of their lives,” Baumgart said. “If you can instill these habits of sustainable processes and sustainable thinking, it can propagate for their entire lives and teach it to their children.”

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