Manchester University
Oak Leaves

October 27, 2018

amy weeks 3

Senior Amy Weeks has felt passionate about recycling at MU since her first year on campus. She hopes her project will help others become aware of their environmental footprints.

Photo provided 

Senior Implements New Recycling Program at MU

Noah Tong


One aspirational student launched a campus-wide recycling initiative designed to promote and improve sustainability in the community.

The project, which began Oct. 18, is led by Amy Weeks, a senior environmental studies and peace studies double major.

“At first, we will be focusing on the Academic Center,” she explained. “We want to make sure every time you see a trash bin you also see a recycling bin. That way there is easy access for people to recycle effectively.” In the past, small waste bins were located in each Academic Center classroom. To encourage smarter recycling decisions from students and faculty alike, Weeks implemented centrally located recycling and waste bins in the hallways. Educational guidelines, designed to highlight what truly can be recycled, is found above each recycling bin.

Weeks could sense room for improvement on-campus as a first-year student. “I seemed to notice when I arrived at Manchester there weren’t many sustainability initiatives happening,” Weeks said. “There’s a lot of simple things that we can do in our lifestyles that make an impact on a global scale.”

“They only make an impact if everyone, or at least a majority in a community, starts to participate,” Weeks continued. “Sometimes it takes a little bit of a push and a little educational outreach. This makes it easier to do healthy habits than to continue with old habits that are unproductive to your health, as well as your environment’s health.”

The recycling project will run until the end of November. Volunteer opportunities are available every Tuesday and Friday for any student who would like to get involved. Students would be volunteering for an assignment that Weeks began a year ago.

“Getting everybody on board took a while,” she said. “There are a lot of departments involved here,” she added, referencing the economics, peace studies, custodial, maintenance and ground crew department, as well as the environmental studies program.

This is the first semester Weeks will receive credit for the project, having worked on the recycling initiative since fall 2017.

“It was hard to keep everything in line while I was also doing other classwork,” Weeks explained. “But at the same time, I found the program itself to be worthwhile, and there was enough support from faculty, staff and other students who were volunteering for my events, that everything went very smoothly.” Now Weeks is earning school credit for the project by enrolling in a special problems course, a class that is specifically tailored to helping the student learn, if such a class does not already exist at Manchester. If the course meets the requirements of the university, any student can take advantage of this opportunity.

Weeks is hoping this experience prepares her for a career as a global health professional. “I’ll be looking at a variety of community aspects that affects one simple problem and how you can change those aspects to solve the problem,” she said.

Until then, she is focused on making sure the recycling initiative succeeds. “If this project is received well maybe elements can be added in the future, and we as a community can realize this project could’ve been implemented here all along,” she said.