Recycling: Spend money to make money
I am quite concerned with the comment made by Elaine Newman ["Better to sell muffins," CTR, October 22], "Recycling does not cost money -- it makes money. Even the most inept of our administrators can make money selling Coke cans." Fortunately, I consider myself a coordinator, not an "administrator."
There are several reasons that recycling currently costs more money than it makes. First, it has to be collected by people, and people cost money. Second, bins are needed to contain the various materials.
Third, signs are needed to ensure that people put the appropriate material in the appropriate bin. Fourth, a coordinator is needed to continuously improve the recycling system and carry out the day-to-day operations.
Coordinating the activities of a variety of personnel, most of whom have other, equally important jobs, is difficult and is getting beyond the ability of a volunteer committee and a part-time student coordinator. It is the committee's long-term goal that there should be a full-time employee responsible for recycling, reporting to the Executive Director, Physical Resources, and probably having a wider environmental theme, as well.
Over the past year, the revenues from Zoom advertising have enabled the recycling committee to spend about $25,000 on bins, labels and signage, a one-time expense that has added greatly to the program.
However, more bins are needed to increase the profitability of recycling aluminum cans. Currently, glass, plastic and metal are all placed in one bin. As a result, the recycling company pays us less for the material because they have to separate it.
Concordia has one of the most innovative programs in Quebec. We are home to the largest vermi-composter in Quebec. We are in a unique partnership with the West Island Readaptation Centre, which integrates mentally challenged clients into the work force. They work in several departments at the University, including recycling.
On-campus commerce: How much is too much?
Here are some excerpts from recent messages to Shoptalk, the highly successful electronic newsgroup for staff.
For the past week, there has been a merchant set up with a small stand on the mezzanine, right by the escalators and across from Tim Horton's. He is selling socks and underwear and knapsacks. Does anyone know why he is there? Does this add value to our institution in the eyes of our students? There is probably a place for some of these vendors to be here, but I think there should be some sort of accountability and control. Maybe some office of our institution should set some public guidelines for what kinds of merchants we will have, how many and when. -- Roger Kenner
The boxer shorts the guy was selling at the great price of $5 were selling at the dollar store in the Guy Metro Building for less! Consumers beware! -- Marlene Gross
I spent years in the advertising industry, going after target markets and such, and I guess I resent the university student being targeted for anything other than information that will serve them now or in the future. To go after their dollar doesn't seem fair. Some of them are hardly eating properly and there's an ad telling them to buy a perfume or a car. Polluting our minds and halls with these ads to support our recycling is contradictory. I wish the University would close their doors to such invasive parading of goods, or at least monitor the type of advertising displayed. -- Carol Williams
Well, it does add value to students. Students are making money off of his [the vendor] being there, it being the Concordia Student Union booth and all.
-- David Smaller, CSU president
Call me idealistic, but I cannot believe it is so difficult to show some social conscience and screen vendors. No, it's either laziness or ignorance. It's choosing the path of least resistance. Everybody, let's look the other way. So long as students are "making money off of it," it's okay!? --Kimberly Adams
There are only three areas where students are provided with space for [selling]: on the Mezzanine across from the Tim Horton's stand, on the fourth floor near the escalators, and on the seventh floor at the entrance to the cafeteria. The first site is under the jurisdiction of the CSU. The second site is under CASA, and the third is under my office. The student associations are solely responsible for the management of their booths. I have, however, brought to their attention, on more than one occasion, some concerns and comments which I have received with respect to the types of items being sold. I have just recently asked them to consider developing common guidelines for commercial activities in these booths, and I am confident that we can arrive at some good compromise. It is always difficult to walk a fine line between allowing students to engage in these kinds of selling activities, which they have a right to do, and turning the Hall Building into a marketplace. Students sell things so as to raise much-needed funds for their activities. On the other hand, the University certainly cannot be turned over to vendors without any parameters to control their activities. We are quite conscious of the issues, and we are trying to respond to them
- Donald L. Boisvert, Dean of Students
Vice-Rector Emond asks for consensus
For some years, both the University administration and the student administration have chosen to accept a growing but limited amount of commercial advertising on selected spaces under their control and in some publications in order to fund their operations or worthy causes that would not otherwise be possible -- "Un mal pour un bien," as some would say.
That being said, there is such a thing as going too far, and there should be a broad consensus within the University about this commercial intrusion, and accepted guidelines for the nature of the advertising allowed. In my view, we are still within the acceptable zone, but need to monitor matters closely to avoid crossing the line.
Students have been using commercial advertising to fund their student newspapers and other activities for some years. More recently, they have also posted advertising on wall space under their jurisdiction.
Since significant budget cuts have been imposed, there have been discussions about inserting commercial advertising in other administrative printed and electronic publications. I am sure that I would have many solicitors for this money or additional money were it available.
The issue, in my mind, is not "Is there another way to support recycling?," but is advertising at the University justified to support worthy causes -- the sort of advertising that we already see around us, targeting a young population?