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The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

    Littered landscape common in Junction, ECO program underway

    With Mississippi State celebrating Homecoming on Saturday, the air attack of the Houston Cougars will not be the only thing swooping in to Starkville this weekend. Also expected to descend upon campus are thousands of MSU fans, students and alumni – and unfortunately, their trash.
    However this year, MSU, like all other SEC schools, has a campaign to raise awareness about gameday trash and recycling – Keep It Clean: Green Gameday, Sustainable Season. University officials said they hope the plan will create an atmosphere among visitors that will result in a cleaner campus after a big game.
    So far, the plan has been met with positive reactions and praise, but mixed results.
    MSU’s green plan concentrates on the Junction and other areas outside the stadium and starts even before gameday, according to Jim Jones, director of Campus Planning and Sustainability.
    “We start picking up trash at 6 p.m. the day before gameday to clean the campus,” he said. “[This is] predominantly to clean up after the folks who set up tents on Friday. Then on Saturday, MSU and MSU athletics have crews out all day to pick up trash. On Sunday morning after the game, the grounds crew comes in at 5 a.m. to clean up after everyone has left.”
    MSU Police Cheif Georgia Lindley, who operates a police tent in the Junction just outside the Turman Field House, said that she has no problem pointing a mess out to visitors, but the police department would not hand out tickets. Usually, a simple “hey buddy” will suffice. She said the number of tailgaters rises each year, bringing new challenges.
    “The Junction grows every year and we learn different things to do,” she said. “Last year, we put the lanes in that you can walk down and drive through on the police golf carts, and that’s been a real help because it’s kept people from being congested together. And this year our big push has been toward the recycling and getting people to pick up their trash.”
    The green drive is growing, according to Jeremiah Dumas, director of MSU’s Environmental Collaborative Office. ECO sets out the recycling boxes, which are placed outside the stadium on gameday weekends.
    He said 285 boxes were set out, starting with the Jackson State game, then reused for LSU. The returns so far have been impressive.
    “The first game we collected right at 1000 pounds [of recyclables],” he said. “The second was around 3000 pounds, and we anticipate a higher return from the Georgia Tech game.”
    The MSU effort is similar to Ole Miss’ Green Grove Initiative.
    Ole Miss places 500 plastic waste barrels and 200 recycling boxes in and around the Grove, collecting nearly 200 cubic yards of waste for morning games, and twice that for evening games and big SEC matchups.
    One tailgater, Justin Flake, whose tent was setup outside Barnes & Noble on Saturday, said Ole Miss still was not doing enough.
    “If you want the truth, the Grove sucks,” he said. “But in the Junction? They’re doing a great job – it’s clean. For every tent I saw, there was a recycling bin. But there’s none outside of the Junction.”
    Flake said he could not easily find recycling bins where he was located, and Kelly Grant, a companion of his who said she was an Ole Miss supporter, said she had not seen any.
    “If there was one right here we would use it,” she said. “But we aren’t going to take our trash and go find a bin.”
    A recycling bin was located approximately 40 feet from where Grant was located.
    Dumas said the ECO was working on placement of bins.
    “We’re trying different things in the way of where we put them and how many we use,” Dumas said. “We’re basically looking for what works best.”
    Another guest, Freddie Puckett, said that he saw others just throwing garbage on the ground.
    “They just have no respect because they don’t have to clean it up,” he said. “You’ve got to train these kids to do this, to put their stuff in the recycle bins.”
    Puckett said he does not recycle, but would use the boxes at the Junction.
    Dumas said education and awareness is key to recycling efforts.
    “Changing the mindset and habits of people is difficult to do,” he said. “But the first step is giving the opportunity to do otherwise and educate on the benefits of doing so. [MSU athletic director] Greg Byrne and his wife Regina are on the big screen 25 minutes prior to game time talking about this, and we hope to get more spots throughout the game.”
    Byrne said there have been discussions about playing the spot at other points in the game to get the message to late arrivals. He also said there will always be room for improvement with recycling efforts and MSU will continue to strive to make it better.
    “We want to be known as the cleanest and most hospitable campus in the league,” Byrne said. “This has been a good first step, and after we get through the season, we’ll evaluate where we are and see what we can do to make it better.”

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    The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University
    Littered landscape common in Junction, ECO program underway