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Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday September 4, 2002

Illogical for Residence Life to halt recycling program

The decision to cancel the residence hall recycling program detailed in the Sept. 3, 2002 front-page story, "ResLife retires dorm recycling" constitutes one of the more asinine decisions made by any administrator at this institution in quite some time. This is really saying something, given the record of Residence Life over the past few years; but how on earth did they reach the conclusion increased student interest in recycling meant ending the program was the best solution?

Sadly, we cannot look to Residence Life for an answer. Director Jim Van Arsdel said budget cuts were not a factor in the decision, and he should know, if anybody does, because he runs the entire show. However, according to the Wildcat, his own program coordinator, Debbie Hanson, stated that as far as she knew, budget concerns were at the heart of the decision.

Not disputed is the fact that students want to do more recycling; a fact that should be applauded. However, the department is somehow unable to support this increased environmental awareness on the part of the student body. Now, you can label me a liberal if you like, but surely the answer to increased student interest is not to cut spending or programs? Apparently, the residence life department feels that focusing on education about how to optimize recycling is a better way to spend the money than to actually facilitate real recycling.

I fail to see the logic here. Why not encourage students to recycle by making it as easy as possible, rather than attempting to teach them about the benefits of recycling on a theoretical level? The most obvious flaw in this plan is that the environmentally alert student body is almost certainly far better equipped to teach Residence Life about recycling than the other way around

Theories about behavior are obviously important, especially at a research institution, but in this instance, arguing theory over practice seems akin to suggesting that UA discuss the theoretical merits of being a student-centered (or diversity-honoring) research institution rather than actually implementing policies that might make it one but that's another story entirely.

Nick Ray
political science doctoral student

Too many major decisions made during summer break

The dismantling of the Residence Life recycling program is the latest example on this campus of decisions affecting large numbers of students that are made and implemented during the summer when relatively few people are here to challenge them. Recall the acceptance of a $100,000+ raise by President Peter Likins this past summer after he had turned it down in spring 2002 due to increased media attention and supposed sensitivity to statewide budget cuts.

The contradictions concerning the recycling program cut are blatant. Jim Van Arsdel, director of Residence Life, claims that budget cuts are not behind the discontinuance. Yet, Residence Life program coordinator Debbie Hanson states that budget cuts are the cause of the program's demise. What is really going on here?

Debbie Hanson also states that Residence Life Recycling wants "to concentrate more on education about the importance of recycling than organizing collections." So, are we then to understand that the importance of recycling is best demonstrated by not doing so?

We have a better idea. Why don't we keep the recycling program and do away with the proposed recycling education. The last time we checked, recycling was not the mystery of the ages. Students just need the opportunity to recycle. If you provide the bins, they will be filled.

It is now up to the students of the residence halls to determine the significance of such a program in their everyday lives. Will they be up to the challenge of being responsible for their collective impact on the environment?

Luisa Ikner, Stephen Descher and Kevin Drees
soil, water, and environmental
sciences graduate students

Residence Life's trashing of recycling program upsetting

As a wildcat alumnus, I had to write in and express my disappointment with the department of Residence Life for cutting its recycling program this year. This cut clearly shows UA's disregard for the environment and our children's future. Money is not always the bottom line. Perhaps a larger budget should be allocated for recycling and maybe UA could lead by example for once.

This carelessness toward the environment with the poor excuse of "we can't afford to," is the reason why I donate money to my high school alma mater rather than UA.

Clean up your act.

Brian Foster
alumnus, Class of 1998


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