Outdoor Club initiates recycling

By Julie Hirshan | gargoyle@flagler.edu

The Outdoors Club, despite being a relatively new group on campus, has already made a big impact on the Flagler College community by starting a recycling program.

Established during the 2006-2007 academic year, the Outdoors Club was a student-led initiative to encourage students to spend more time doing activities outside. The president of the group, Missy Kafel, promotes the importance of living “a more eco-conscience lifestyle.” Kafel, a senior majoring in sociology and a minoring in anthropology, had the support and help of natural science Professor Barbara Blonder to start the group.

In their third active semester on campus, the Outdoors Club focuses on showing students that making small changes — such as using cloth bags, sports water bottles and participating in a community garden — are important in taking steps toward living a greener lifestyle.

The biggest undertaking of the group is the recycling program on Flagler’s campus. When the group first started, this was their priority. John Stewart, the vice president of institutional advancement, approached the club and told them about an anonymous donor that was willing to offer a generous grant to the school for a recycling program or something similar. The club came back with a proposal, and the grant was awarded to start the recycling program. It started last semester with paper recycling in faculty offices and the library.

The senior class of 2008 made a $3,000 donation toward the program at graduation as their gift to the school. This semester, paper recycling is everywhere on campus, and plastic bottles are recycled in all the men’s and women’s dormitories, the gymnasium, Kenan Hall and Bugg’s Bistro. This is a big step for the campus, and Kafel hopes the program will continue to expand.

The group’s 30 members empty the bins each week, which Kafel says are always filled. Brandon Volbrecht, vice president of the club, is in charge of plastic recycling. The other officers include Molly Jane Hammond, event coordinator, Courtney Ellison, treasurer, and Caitlin Hevey as the secretary. Professor Jim Wilson is the group’s advisor. The Outdoors Club also has help from Ripple Club, and Rotaract helps collect the paper recycling from Ponce Hall.

“It is our responsibility to start reusing,” Kafel said about the importance of recycling. She said Flagler
College is an educated place, and recycling is “an educated thing to do.” Kafel maintains that our society needs to become less wasteful.

“The technology is out there in the world to do it,” she said. Kafel also said many other countries recycle in much greater percentages than the United States does, and we need to follow their example.

Flagler College’s recycling program compares to those on other campuses across Florida. Most are student-led. Kafel hopes that this will change and that the administration will take a more active role in endorsing the program. She would eventually like it to be part of the work-study program at Flagler College.

The Outdoors Club has been on kayaking trips, bike rides and coastal cleanups. They recently held a three-day organic bake sale to bring awareness to the campus about organic food. They offered coffee, muffins, pancakes, cookies and granola.

Coming up on Dec. 4 is the Eco-Fun Festival. This is the second year of this event, which is an environmental awareness day. It will be held on the West Lawn starting in the late afternoon and lasting into the night, complete with bands, food and raffles. A drive to encourage students to convert from plastic to cloth bags is also in the works for the club.

The Outdoors Club meets every third Thursday in the Gazebo at 7:30 p.m. The next meeting will be Nov. 20. For more information on the club, e-mail outdoorsclub@flagler.edu.

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