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College programs use recycling to link students, community
Students walk by recycling bins at Gainesville State College's student center. Green-themed activities planned for next week at the college will help reinforce environmental awareness already in place at the commuter campus.

Weeks of Welcome green events

Recycling and Green Life in Northeast Georgia with Rick Foote

When: Noon to 1 p.m. Monday
Where: Library A/V room, Monday
How much: Free

E-recycling event

When: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 29
Where: Continuing Education building parking lot
How much: $5 for the first 40 TVs and $10 afterward due to the cathode ray tubes

OAKWOOD — As students settle into the new routine of classes and commuting at Gainesville State College, a pair of green initiatives will help them think about the environment, too.

Most students drive to the Oakwood campus. But a lecture on Monday and an e-waste recycling and paper shredding event next weekend will help students lower their carbon footprint in other ways.

Plus, because the events are open to the public, it is a chance for the school to connect with the community, too.

"The entire Weeks of Welcome is designed around paying more attention to your responsibility to the planet, recycling, making wise choices," said environmental sciences professor Margi Flood. Weeks of Welcome is a series of events during the opening weeks of school to teach students about some of the things the campus has to offer.

The events are also another way the college is getting greener, students say.

"I've been going here for several years, and I was amazed early on that the recycle bins were here early on, even before the green initiative," said GSC student Tonia Irvin of Cornelia.

Fellow student Stephanie Elsesser agreed the green events were a good idea.

"I work at Kohl's and we are doing the same thing with (reusable cloth) bags," she said. "Maybe they should use those in the book store instead of the plastic bags."

A look at recycling

To kick off the green living initiative for the Weeks of Welcome, GSC will host Hall County Natural Resources Coordinator Rick Foote for a lecture on Monday. "Connecting the Dots," the title of Foote's lecture, will feature recycled products that consumers use every day.

"I showcase products made from recycled materials because they are common, everyday products that we depend on," Foote said. "So I try to connect the dots between, lets say, a milk jug that we recycle here in the county and the finished product - lets say a laundry detergent bottle, fabric softener bottle or a shampoo bottle."

Too much electronic waste?

On Aug. 29, Foote, GSC and Keep Hall Beautiful will join forces for an e-waste recycling event. Students and local residents can bring by electronic items such as computers, keyboards, sound equipment, copper wires and cables for recycling.

"They are going to take the TVs apart - they will recover the glass and that glass gets made into monitor, computer and TV screens again," said Foote, who added that most electronics with a printed circuit board will be accepted.

"The electronics are becoming an increasingly large part of the waste stream. It is still dwarfed by things like paper ... but in this electronic age it is a growing sector," Foote added.

The Students for Environmental Awareness group at GSC has donated money to help with the cost of recycling the first 40 TVs.

"The first 40 TVs that show up will only cost $5," said Flood, who said she thinks it is important for the community to participate in the event. "Lead is a very nasty metal, there are lots of toxins in electronics - there's cadmium, there's lead, mercury - these are not things that we want in the environment."

Shred that paper

Another component of the Aug. 29 event will be free paper shredding by Document Destruction Services. Students and residents can clean out their homes of unwanted private documents, said Cindy Reed, director of Keep Hall Beautiful.

"People can bring sensitive documents, maybe they have old bank statements or medical records or anything with personal information that they don't feel comfortable getting rid of recycling without it being shredded," Reed said. "So with the shredding truck, you pour the box in and it shreds it right there in front of you."

The shredding service is for personal items only, not paper from businesses.

And while the service is free, GSC will ask for donations that go to Gateway House in Gainesville.