‘The quest to save the planet’

Senior Franklin Ramsey creates recycling program for York Hill residents

By on April 9, 2019

One Quinnipiac student has elevated his job as a community assistant (CA) to a new level by not only helping out his residents, but also helping the environment.

Franklin Ramsey, senior computer information systems major, created a program that he called ‘The Quest to Save the Planet.’ The program, which Ramsey runs single-handedly, motivates his residents in the Townhouse buildings on York Hill campus to recycle.

Photo courtesy of Franklin Ramsey
“I could use [my] position to help teach my residents how to recycle because that was my scope of authority,” Ramsey said.

Ramsey said that his idea to start this program came from the assumptions students make around campus about whether the university recycles or not.

“There’s that notion around campus that facilities doesn’t actually recycle so I wanted to get to the bottom of it and I found that people contaminating recycling is one of the factors why it makes it difficult for facilities to recycle,” Ramsey said. “There’s actually recycling containers and what not. Huge bins that they deposit proper recycle material in because it’s part of their contract with All American Waste. So, there is that effort to recycle, just people didn’t know how to recycle properly.”

Although it is not mandatory, Ramsey highly encourages his Townhouse residents to recycle weekly. Students are given an incentive to recycle as well, since Ramsey said that whichever apartment obtained the most recycled materials after every four weeks would win a $50 gift card.

“[The program] started at the beginning of the semester and at the end of four weeks, which was like one round in the beginning of another round, I collected over 2,000 materials,” Ramsey said. “The turn-out was increasing week by week, and my goal is that even though people have an incentive now, as they repeat recycling in a certain way, they learn the habit of how to actually recycle properly.”

On top of rewarding residents for their participation, Ramsey also created epigraphics to illustrate what are and are not recyclable materials and how to prepare recyclable materials like cleaning and sorting them out.

Ramsey said that one of the people who assisted him in this program was junior 3+1 public relations major and vice president for Students for Environmental Action (SEA) Leah Lavin.

Lavin said she was a resource for Ramsey because she learned a lot of specific information regarding recycling at the university through her experience with SEA.

“[Ramsey’s] passion for sustainability is strong and so admirable,” Lavin said. “I know a lot of students on this campus feel similarly about wanting to improve their personal sustainability and this program gives them an outlet to do so. Awareness and action regarding our current recycling program is necessary for us to improve and I’m so proud of Ramsey for taking the initiative on doing this project.”

One of the best things about this program for Ramsey is the positive feedback that he has received from his residents.

Photo courtesy of Franklin Ramsey
“Because of me and the program, now whenever they’re about to throw something in the trash can, they’re constantly reminded, this is recyclable and throw it in the recycling bin,” Ramsey said. “It is working, it’s more in people’s consciousness now. It was even more amazing that over spring break they forced their families to recycle.”

Junior occupational therapy major Cassidy Spencer is one of Ramsey’s residents who has participated in the program and said that this program gave her a larger awareness on environmental sustainability.

“My roommates and I would make sure we saved and rinsed out all of our recyclables and hold onto them to give to [Ramsey] every week,” Spencer said. “It’s the smaller things that can make a larger impact and it doesn’t take much effort to simply recycle and make tiny changes in your lifestyle that can further help the environment.”

In an effort to help other students recognize the value of recycling, Ramsey said he is currently developing a “statement piece” for the Earth Day Fair on April 24.

“An idea would be to fill one part of the quad with just trash,” Ramsey said. “In four weeks, I’ve collected so much from just about five apartments. That’s not even a lot of people. So to have that picture that would give people an idea of how much waste they are generating.”

Lavin said she along with members of SEA intend on working with Ramsey to display his work during the Earth Day event to highlight the impact it has done for students.

“I expect and hope for this program to grow beyond where it is now,” Lavin said. “I think Ramsey really set the framework for all of QU residential areas could take part in. Students interest in sustainability is only growing, so I expect the program to do the same.”

Spencer said that the university should promote recycling more often on campus.

“I feel as if there is no following through with recycling on this campus and a lot of times, even when people separate their recyclables, it is still going into the same dumpsters and garbage trucks and in the end not actually making any difference,” Spencer said.

Ramsey said that he hopes that after he graduates from the university that this program does not leave with him and instead other community assistants or residential assistants will   carry the program to greater heights.

“I’ve been passionate about environmental sustainable actions, but I’ve talked to other people who have been interested,” Ramsey said. “It’s definitely time-consuming. It’s not like we’re required to do this, this takes time but I also value the impact.”

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English Major/Spanish Minor
Class of 2019