Sustainability club brings recycling, bike share program to DSU

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If you see someone park a green bike outside of a building on campus, and another student walks over and takes it, you probably haven’t just witnessed a crime.

The Sustainability Club at Dixie State University created the bike share program and other environmentally-friendly initiatives that deal with water conservation, energy conservation, promoting clean energy and recycling across campus. 

Sustainability Club Adviser Tracey O’Kelly said the club has done a lot in a small amount of time. Since it was founded in fall 2014, the club has started the bike share, planted trees on campus, participated in numerous events both on and off campus, and created the recycling initiative—which controls 90 percent of the recycling on DSU’s campus.

“I think our community is a little behind the times, because [sustainability] has never really been needed here, but it’s starting to hit us and we need to be more aware,” O’Kelly said.

The club is aiming toward more places on campus to store the bikes, which were mostly donated or unclaimed bikes left on campus. O’Kelly said the new dorms being built will house an indoor garage specifically for bikes.

Sustainability Club President Trevor Anderson, a senior secondary education major from La Verkin, said the club aims for a better future by implementing programs like the bike share.

“If I care about sustainability issues and I don’t do anything about it, I’ll just end up hating myself,” Anderson said.

Students interested in getting involved with the bike share can sign a waiver through O’Kelly and get the code to unlock the bikes on campus.

Anderson said the club has recycling bins set up in 10 buildings across campus. Other DSU clubs get merit money by picking up the recycling, so he said he orchestrates which clubs pick up the recycling each week. There are four buildings on campus where the campus custodians pick up the recycling, and he said he hopes every recycling bin on campus is taken care of by DSU’s custodial staff. 

“That way, we can move on to other projects,” he said. “There are so many things that fall under sustainability that we could do. So we have to start somewhere, expand and then move on.” 

In addition to campus recycling, the club is in charge of the recycling at George’s Streetfest—the downtown festival that happens on the first Friday of each month.

O’Kelly said the club is interested in bringing a cardboard baler—a machine that crushes cardboard into neat, recycle-able bales—to campus. She said the Gardner Center’s food services alone throws away on average 100 boxes per day. 

“We’ve already outgrown our resources,” she said. “We need more active, passionate members.”

Sustainability is important because there’s only one Earth, and maintaining it is essential for future generations, Anderson said.

“It’s a hard thing for a lot of people to grasp because they don’t see the benefits right now, but hopefully what we’re doing helps future generations,” he said.