April 10, 2013

The Hamline Green Team Brings Green Theme To Dining Services

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 Students have teamed up to offer a new way to advance Hamline’s ethic of sustainability. The Green Team brings together undergraduates who are interested in raising awareness about sustainability, and educating others about how to make the campus more environmentally friendly.

Right now, the team specifically focuses on issues of recycling and waste as it relates to campus dining. Nearly every undergraduate passes through the dining hall in Anderson Center at one time or another, and there they’ll find the Green Team ready with information about best practices and presentations about on-campus sustainability.

“It think it’s very necessary to have a way for institutions to educate the community about these issues,” Green Team member Mariela Ojeda said. “People need to have convenient information about recycling and how to be eco-friendly.”

  In order to have the most current information on these topics, the team collects data for visual displays in the dining hall. For example, they collected facts and figures related to recycling for their recent “Did you know…” exhibit. They also created a board that allowed people to offer suggestions for future issues or ask questions about topics they wanted to know more about.

Hamline itself has a sustainability taskforce, which meets regularly to ensure the university is operating in an environmentally responsible manner, to generate new ideas to make the campus more sustainable, and to create opportunities to educate the community. In November 2012, the task force started looking for students who were interested in being a part of the Green Team. The effort was led by task force member, and director of Dining Services, Gayle Hanson. The team’s advisor is Donna Krech, marketing supervisor for dining services.

“The students are expected to be willing to give presentations and be skilled in personal interactions with peers and colleagues,” Hanson said. “The students should also have a good understanding of how sustainability relates to the dining services and be eager to learn more about those topics as members of the team. They should also be familiar with life on campus so that they can have fun and effective interactions with the Hamline community.

“I’ve already learned a lot from the Green Team,” Ojeda said. “You have to find solutions that are convenient and cheap for students. A lot of factors come into play when educating people and encouraging them to recycle more.”

In the future, the Green Team is planning projects for Earth Day. They plan to acquire more and more ideas and opinions from students, as well as gauge the level of understanding on different topics, such as which items can be recycled instead of thrown away. By doing this, the Green Team will get a vivid picture of the level of people’s understanding of sustainability, which will help the team develop more effective educational materials and encourage community members to make sound choices and act responsibly when it comes to the environment. 

Find out more about the Green Team on Hamline’s YouTube channel.