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Students come together to set a new record of debris collected on campus while contributing to the University’s sustainability efforts

Fairmont State Outdoor Recreation teamed up with the Fairmont State Tennis Team and Explorer’s Club for a campus clean-up event on Friday, October 16, where the volunteers collected a record breaking 762.8 pounds of debris and litter, earning 25 volunteer hours collectively. 

“The students, although one of our smaller groups, worked so hard and set a new record,” said Stephanie DeGroot, Construction Project Manager at Fairmont State. “For comparison, on average we collect around 400 pounds for a typical event, nearly doubling any of our previous efforts.” 

Fairmont State President, Mirta Martin, Program Coordinator, Jan Kiger and Sustainability Council Member, Stephanie DeGroot, also joined to support the cause.

“I am thankful for everyone that came out to volunteer and I am looking forward to continued efforts to connect our students with the outdoor spaces on our campus,” said Kiger, a Program Coordinator at Fairmont State.

The clean-up event also helped to preserve green space on campus to further increase sustainability efforts. Fairmont State University’s Creative Sustainability Council was recently awarded a grant of $27,120 from the Appalachian Stewardship Foundation to implement sustainability initiatives on campus, one of which including a glass crushing system on campus.

The Creative Sustainability Council purchased a new GLSand glass crusher with grant funds to recycle glass and reduce the space in landfills taken up by glass bottles. As part of the recycling process, glass bottles are collected and crushed into a sand material, providing several practical uses. 

 Student athlete and Creative Sustainability Council member, Mackenzie Sorton, participated in the campus clean-up event, and recommended the glass be bagged separately to be crushed. 

“We are excited to bring this new option to our community, and loved the opportunity to partner on the campus clean-up project, thanks to Mackenzie,” said Dr. Erica Harvey, professor of Chemistry at Fairmont State. “We look forward to seeing entrepreneurship flourish with the crushed glass, which is safe to handle and comes in a variety of sizes, from fine sand to larger cullet.”

Approximately 120 pounds of the total debris collected during the campus clean-up was glass, producing nearly 120 pounds of sand processed using the glass crusher. 

“When I talk to outside groups, I always talk about our charming, beautiful hilltop campus,” Mirta M. Martin, president of Fairmont State University, said. “But it will only stay that way if we all work together. Efforts like this, and the use of our new glass bottle crusher, are simple ways we can put our philosophy of sustainability into real-world, impactful practice at Fairmont State.”

To learn more about the Fairmont State glass crushing initiative, contact Erica Harvey, Erica.Harvey@fairmontstate.edu. To become involved with campus clean-up efforts, contact Jan Kiger, Jan.Kiger@fairmontstate.edu.

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