Student apathy derails AUC Green project
A number of professors and environmental organizations are finding themselves battling a general lack of awareness as they urge students to pay closer attention to waste disposal.
Several awareness initiatives, including ones launched in cooperation with groups such as Volunteers in Action (VIA), the Association for the Protection of the Environment, the Biology Club, the Student Union, the Desert Development Center and NGOs like Resala, have tried to encourage students to conscientiously recycle their waste.
But there are fears all those efforts may be falling on deaf ears.
An AUC Clean and Green survey, conducted as a part of the recycling campaign initiated by Dina Rateb, an associate professor at the department of management and the VIA faculty advisor, has failed to even solicit sufficient response.
“Less than 17 percent of the students have filled the survey. The office of institutional research told me I have to have at least 17 percent to announce the survey results,” Rateb said.
Further disheartening is the fact that a similar recycling campaign was launched at the old campus in 2005.
At the time, paper recycling was the focus because of different waste disposal methods downtown.
“We used to produce 1.5 tons of paper a month,” said Rateb.
Osama Zayed, the director of facilities and services, said that the new campus produces 20 cubic meters of disposable waste every day. “Garbage is a resource and we need to make use of these resources to be a model for other universities and organizations,” he said.
On the new campus currently, there are different labeled waste bins located in indoor and outdoor areas. Indoors, there are green-labeled bins “for paper only” and green labeled ones “for all trash except paper”. On the other hand, there is a different labeling system outdoors, yellow labeled bins “for dry trash” and orange labeled ones “for wet trash”.
Zayed says that students need to be cooperative and make proper use of the bins for such a project to yield the best results.
But Rateb believes students are simply not really abiding by the labeling system. “They are too lazy to read the labels on the bins,” she said.
In hopes of finding a way to reach students, Rateb is working with Sherine Fahmy from the Journalism and Mass Communication department to design an instructional adhesive poster on the bins instead of the labels.
In 2005, she made a 10-minute video about recycling projects for the student body.
Rateb said: “Maybe I should do that again in the new campus.”