"Bettering the Environment, One Door at a Time"
UB's campaign to reduce its environmental impact has been an ongoing movement in recent years. However, the office of Off-Campus Student Services, in collaboration with the Honors College and UB Green, took a very active stance by going door to door in University Heights last month to achieve its goals.
The mission was not only to educate the residents surrounding UB's South Campus about recycling but also to increase the number of individuals who recycle. The three collaborating organizations administered a survey to all residents from Bailey Avenue and Lasalle Avenue to Kenmore Avenue and Englewood Avenue. The survey evaluated residents' level of participation in the city's recycling program. The results showed that only 488 recycling bins were used.
Next, information was distributed to all residents about the City of Buffalo's recycling program. This educational campaign sought to inform citizens on how to practice sustainable habits.
"‘Operation Doorhanger' circulated information around the neighborhood in University Heights to educate people as to when recycling days are, what kind of materials go in the bins, and [what goes in the] garbage," said Dan Ryan, director of Off-Campus Student Services.
At the UB Neighbors Block Party and Safety Fair in September, more than 200 recycling bins were distributed by the City of Buffalo. In October, UB Honors students went door to door, providing recycling instructions, asking residents to sign a recycling pledge, and distributing an additional 150 bins.
As compared to the initial survey, recycling bin use has increased by nearly 50 percent. The Off-Campus Student Services office still serves as a distribution center for the blue recycling bins. The goal is to increase participation to 100 percent in University Heights.
"Students graduate and move on, but there will be new people [moving into University Heights], so this will be an ongoing challenge for us," Ryan said. "We want to make sure as many people as possible know how to help the environment."
Efforts by UB's Off-Campus Student Services will continue into the spring. At the end of this academic year, the office suggests that students leaving the area donate furniture and appliances to local charities.