Post contributed by Lindsay Souders, Undergraduate Student, Environmental Design and Sustainability Studies
From a very early age I was taught in school how important it is to take care of the environment. I have carried this discipline with me ever since, and now I plan to make a career out of it. When I made the choice to further my education at Auburn University, I knew I wanted to do my part to help make the community into a better place, but I wasn’t sure exactly how I could contribute. After attending a few club meetings on campus, I learned about the university’s recycling program and the rest is history. As a Facilities Management employee with 2 years worth of experience, I have developed a behind-the-scenes awareness to the habits of the students, staff, and faculty.
I have learned that many people have an “I’ll just dump my trash or recyclables here” or “someone else will take care of it” attitude. It is unfortunate how quickly this can become a thoughtless routine. I assure you that cleaning up these messes is no easy feat. I personally have dealt with overflowing trash spills or picked recyclable plastic bottles out of trash cans. It deeply upsets me that more careful consideration is not being taken at the place that so many of us have come to call home. A lot of hard work goes into providing quality waste and recycling services to the university. Yes, we are there when you need us, but it is up to ALL OF US to take care of our community.
I strongly urge everyone to think of the bigger picture when it comes to our waste. I often hear people say that we need more trash or recycling bins on campus; perhaps that is not the real problem. Maybe we should rethink how quickly we consume things and where those materials come from. Whether or not you see where it goes, it has hardly gone away forever. We are constantly working to refine and improve the program, but we can only do so much on our end.
With that being said, I have chosen to incorporate these values into my career path, which is environmental design. I believe that technology and innovation of the future will rely heavily on principles of sustainability. The sooner we start implementing these ideals into our lifestyles, the smoother the transition will be. Furthermore, this is entirely for our benefit and for future generations. Even if you only make little changes to your lifestyle, the impact could be huge.