This is Philip Lindsay from Student Assembly! I’m currently working on a project in conjunction with our Student Affairs Committee to dispel a pervasive rumor that Dartmouth doesn’t recycle. I originally heard the rumor in my first couple days of freshman year. During a floor meeting, my UGA told my floor that Dartmouth “really doesn’t recycle” so there’s no reason to diligently separate waste. My roommate hammered in the point when he mentioned that his brother (an ‘18) also alleged that Dartmouth lacked a recycling program. Despite the upperclassman sources, I was a little skeptical of the rumor, so I went to the Sustainability Department for more information. They told me, bluntly, that the school definitely does have a recycling program. So great, we do recycle. But I was still worried about all the people saying we don’t. Student Assembly ran a Pulse survey to collect data about whether this rumor is actually a widespread issue. The results are concerning: 13.3% of Dartmouth students (+/- 3.7%) don’t think that Dartmouth recycles at all (see the attached graph).
Aside from the pure recycling-denial, we also found that many students have very little faith in the effectiveness of the recycling program. Keeping these facts in mind, the Student Affairs committee plans to take a number of steps to improve recycling at Dartmouth. The obvious first move is to raise awareness that Dartmouth does actually recycle, through an email and poster campaign. But we also want to clarify recycling protocol to avoid contamination in recycling that renders the bags unrecyclable. We plan to work alongside the Dartmouth Sustainability Department to make it clear how to dispose of waste properly (and sustainably). We hope that our fellow students will help us to create a greener and more sustainable college!