Richland wins national award for being green

Jerry Owens at work in Pecos Hall

Jerry Owens at work in Pecos Hall

Richland took first place in RecycleMania this year. It is a national competition where 309 colleges and universities participated, according to Jerry Owens, assistant director of facilities and head of the recycling program.

He said the competition has different categories like organic and inorganic waste and paper among others. Richland, however, took the biggest award.

“The one we won is the grand champion. That’s the big one,” Owens said. “That means we recycled 81.2 percent out of our trash.”

Usually, Richland takes first place in Texas, according to Owens. This award, however, is very important because Richland, being a two-year college, out-performed larger four-year schools like the University of Texas, Baylor, University of Michigan and even Harvard, according to Owens.

A recycling culture, however, is not new for the Thunderducks. Owens said that since 1995, Richland has been recycling. He remembers that in those days if people wanted to recycle, they had to put a mark on their door and people could come to get their recycled items.

Now, everybody can recycle in the special green cans located throughout campus.

Despite the success, Owens said it was not easy to win the award. The facilities services and custodial staff were the ones who did the entire job.

According to Owens, they have to go through the trash to separate the recyclable materials. 

The plan for next year, however, is totally different, since some students will be helping. 

“Next year, we’ll have a lot of students, our green team. They will be more out in the campus observing, telling people ‘Hey! We are RecycleMania; we want you to recycle,’” Owens said.

Owens added that everybody should recycle to try to reverse the damage that our planet has suffered through years and years of excessive pollution.

In addition to do good for the planet, Owens said, the campus receives money for recycling. That money is used to help programs at the school.

“We actually take that money for stability programs. Nothing comes out from taxpayers’ budgets,” Owens said. “It goes back to the business office.”

Although this year the school received $4,000, Owens remembers that three years ago, they earned $27,000. He said this year has been so busy for him and there were no projects. However, he hopes that next year is going to be much better with the help of the Student Green Team.

For more information about the program and how to be part of it stop by Pecos Hall, Room P157 to talk to Sonia Ford or call her at 972-238-6109.