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Sustainability coordinator strives for “green” campus

Joseph Herbst, the new Sustainability Coordinator for the program on campus.

He’s not wasting any time.

By encouraging first-year students to recycle empty cardboard boxes on move-in day, Joe Herbst, the new sustainability coordinator, helped kick-off what he hopes to be a “green” year at MSUM.

“In previous years, recycling during move-in day has always been an afterthought,” Herbst said.

This year, he set out to make a difference.
He and about a dozen volunteers sat beside dumpsters marked with large signs reading “kung-fu your cardboard” and “cardboard only” to help students and their parents break down boxes and to reward them with a stainless steel water bottle.

“You bring an empty box; then you get a water bottle. Sometimes, they just need a little incentive,” Herbst said. “My hope is that in a few years we’ll still see the students using the bottles.”

At the end of the day, the cardboard-only dumpsters located at the entrances of each residence hall contained enough cardboard to save 51 trees from being cut down.

The recycled cardboard, along with other items, are now on display in the campus mall to show students how much waste they can prevent by simply recycling empty boxes and bottles.
Herbst plans to increase MSUM sustainability efforts with more recycling and renewable energy projects throughout the year.

He said he has high hopes for MSUM to become a known as a “green” school.

“The potential is huge,” he said. “But before the ship starts sailing, I want to make sure everyone’s on board.”

A lot of people don’t know what sustainability means, he said. “My goal is to package it in a way they understand.”

For more information about the office of campus sustainability, contact Joe Herbst at 218.477.0028 or joe.herbst@mnstate.edu.

BY JASMINE MAKI
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