ESLAN Project Completion and Summary

In January, we, The Environmental Student Leaders Action Network (ESLAN) team at Augsburg College, got the ball rolling on a behavior change project on campus. Our project has been to recycle personal care and oral care products via the TerraCycle company, an innovative and renowned company that recycles hard-to-recycle waste. We’re in April now and we have news to share with you!

We placed bins in each of the nine resident bathrooms of Urness Hall, where first-year students reside. Before starting to recycle, we had students take pre-surveys about their awareness and actions toward recycling, especially hard-to-recycle waste. Students also took post-surveys. Figure 1 illustrates the comparison between the pre- and post-surveys. The results show that students were recycling more after taking part in the TerraCycle project for two months.

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  Figure 1. A) Pre-survey results for Urness Hall residents. B) Post-survey results for Urness Hall residents.

Students were incentivized to recycle by promising a pizza party for the residence floor that collected the most amount of products by weight. The students ended up collecting 28.06 lbs in items. After sorting (Figure 2 shows the team having fun sorting), we found that 18.25 lbs of the items could be recycled in traditional recycling bins. Therefore, 9.81 lbs of the items could be sent to TerraCycle; 7.11 lbs were from personal care and 2.7 lbs were from oral care.Untitled3                                                                Fig 2. The ESLAN team sorting out the recycling items.

There was also a community bin, a bin for all commuters and folks not living in Urness Hall, placed in the Christensen Center. The bin did not fare well. The bin was mistaken for a garbage bin and folks were not dropping off too many products. The lack of items could have been due to poor advertisement about its location when it was moved from one place in Christensen to a different location in the same building (moved after one week), as well as people feeling insecure about dropping off personal care products in a public space. As said before, we did not have much luck with the community bin.

        With all of our efforts, we estimate reaching 2,000 students. By reaching we mean that students had access to the project and details at the very least. We used various modes of communication. We posted images of people using the TerraCycle bins on Instagram. We tabled in the Christensen Center. We wrote a piece about our project for the Echo newspaper. We used every communication tool available to us to spread the word.

Moving forward, there is a lot for our team to think about. We are talking about forming a formal environmental student group on campus. We want to see if we can keep the TerraCycle program going and devise new strategies for creating success with the community bin. There is a lot floating around, so stay tuned. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact us at environmentalstewardship@augsburg.edu.

 

ESLAN Students Facilitate Behavior Change at Augsburg

     The University of Minnesota, Augsburg College, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis Community and Technical College, and the North Hennepin Community College, recently joined forces to establish a pilot project known as the Environmental Student Leaders Action Network (ESLAN). The project is a behavior change project funded by a Hennepin County Green Partners grant.

     The Kick-off meeting was on Wednesday, October 14th, at the Gandhi Mahal Restaurant. At the event, folks discussed the structure of the project and brainstormed ideas for behavior change projects on their campus. Also, people had the opportunity to tour the restaurant’s aquaponics system; Minnesota’s first, in-restaurant aquaponics system, and dined in Northern-style Bangladeshi/Indian cuisine.

      Between October 25th and 27th, the ESLAN students attended the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Conference (AASHE), an event that equips higher education faculty, administrators, staff, and students to lead sustainable innovations.  One of the helpful sessions held at the event was the Behavioral Change in Sustainable Campus Actions session facilitated by Alexis Troschinetz, the Clean Energy Resource Teams (CERTs) Behavior Change and Metrics Coordinator for the University of Minnesota’s Regional Sustainable Development Partnerships and Extension. The session informed students on how to organize and execute sustainable initiatives.

Now, each campus is working on their independent project. The Augsburg College team consists of four students (Elise Linna, Hanan Farah, Jennifer Kochaver, and Oscar Martinez), one graduate student (Amber Lewis), and two faculty (Emily Schilling and Christina Erickson). We are recycling personal care products inside bins founds in each residence bathroom floor of Urness Hall and by the Einstein’s bagel shop inside Christensen Center (images presented below in Figure 1).

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Figure 1. a) Recycling bin found in one of the Urness Hall floors. b) ESLAN Augsburg students standing next to the recycling bin found in Christensen Center. 

     The items collected will be recycled through the TerraCycle company, an acclaimed upcycling and recycling company. The company is amazing, so check them out at www.terracycle.comThe team is delighted with the number of products being recycled in the bins thus far. In order to incentivize folks to continue doing a great job, we are rewarding the Urness Hall floor that recycles the most personal care products by Thursday, March 10, with a pizza party.

     We collected pre-surveys from the Urness residents two weeks ago and we will compare them to the post-surveys that we will collect in March. We will use the data from the surveys and our own personal experience to present our findings on March 28th to the rest of ESLAN institutional partner members.

     Up to now, this has been a wonderful opportunity to grow as agents of sustainable change. If you want to learn how to join us in this rewarding experience or have questions, please contact us by emailing us at environmentalstewardship@augsburg.edu. We will be posting more blogs, so also look out for those.

 

bag it: is your life too plastic?

 

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On Wednesday, April 22nd (Earth Day), the ESC will be hosting a film screening of the movie Bag ItThis documentary follows Jeb Berrier as he uncovers the mystery of plastic.  What started with a simple grocery trip and a goal to stop using plastic bags, turns into a quest to uncover what happens to plastic when it’s thrown out.  Where does it go?  How does it effect our environment and our health?  Don’t worry though – this isn’t a doom and gloom film.  It’s funny AND informative.  So if you can take a break from late night studying, come join us for some snacks and relaxing entertainment.

Thank you to the Environmental Studies Department for sponsoring this event!


Wednesday, April 22nd
Augsburg College
East Commons, Christensen Center
Screening begins at 8:30pm

 

Native American Film Series: Profit and Loss

SSGPLDVjacketF-211x300The Native American Film Series is still at it!  They’re showing another film that is sure to be inspiring and insightful.  Profit and Loss focuses on mining and oil industries and its effect on Native people across the globe.  Discussion to follow with Dr. Cecilia Martinez, Director of Research Programs for The Center for Earth, Energy, and Democracy and Tom Goldtooth, Executive Director of Indigenous Environmental Network.


Tuesday, March 24th
Augsburg College
Sateren Auditorium, Music Hall, 715 22nd Ave South
Reception 6:15-6:45
Screening begins at 7:00
Discussion to follow

Help! We need movie suggestions!

Movie proposals needed for an outdoor movie night for Earth Day! Hopefully, the weather will cooperate. If you have a suggestion for an environmentally themed (and entertaining) movie, please let us know. Leave a comment or you can send an email to auggiesgogreen@augsburg.edu.

Fix-It Clinics

Now you can get broken household items fixed for free at a local Fix-It Clinic.  Repairable items might include:

  • small appliances
  • electronics
  • mobile devices
  • clothing
  • toys

Not only will you get your item fixed, but you can learn valuable repair skills along the way!  Most importantly, you’ll reduce waste AND save money.  No need to bring your own tools, unless you really want to.

Want to know why these clinics are so important and how it impacts the community?  MPR  has a great news story covering just that.

**If you happen to be a really handy person already and want to help out, volunteers are always needed.  More info on volunteering can be found on the Hennepin County website.

 

Composting in Minneapolis!

It’s official.  Citywide composting is coming to Minneapolis!  Compost bins will be distributed to neighborhoods in stages, beginning this summer, to include all of Minneapolis by spring of 2016.  Both MPR News and FOX 9  featured articles on the program this week.  Check it out!

 

 

Forum – MN Energy Regulation

The Center for Energy and Environment (CEE) is celebrating their 35th Anniversary.  The CEE is a local nonprofit specializing in the reduction of waste energy for homeowners, businesses, government and non-profit agencies.  They will be hosting a forum: The Future of Energy Regulation in Minnesota | Policy Opportunities and Innovations

President and CEO of Xcel Energy, Ben Fowke, will be interviewed followed by a discussion with state energy policy experts.


 

Event Information

Where: Minnesota History Center, 3M Auditorium
When: Tuesday, January 27th
Networking Reception: 5:15 – 6:15
Program: 6:15 – 8:15
Cost: FREE