Kayee Bahun, Jack Noecker, Connor Hula, Shelby Alex Gonzales
Tuesday, December 8th 2015
#UNLBleedsGreen Commons Campaign
With increasing pressure on our precious resources, college campuses have come to play an important role in environmental stewardship. Campus recycling initiatives are taking colleges in positive directions by: creating hands-on-experience for students, developing sustainable practices and resource conservation, and an opportunity for colleges to promote their campus.
While UNL has recycling receptacles located around campus, we are aiming to promote a larger usage of them among students. Additionally, we aim to reduce littering- including but not limited to cigarette butts, small paper products, small plastic products, etc. An additional goal of our Commons Campaign is to establish a recycling mentality in the residence halls and greek community. The ultimate goal of this project is to create environmental awareness, collect data on the opinions of students on recycling, as well as an impact on the campus.
Some constraints we may encounter include the audience's attitude and unconcern toward the campaign. We have taken into consideration the role of a busy college student - as we are ones ourselves. While we are aiming to reach as many students as possible, and to change the outlook on recycling, we understand that there will be conflictions with audience participation. Therefore, during our campaign survey we are making sure to reach willing students of different living conditions, grades, and on campus involvement in order to obtain a wide range of results.
For our commons campaign this semester, we decided to focus on utilizing the opinions of UNL students to calculate the campus’ views and actions on recycling. In doing so, we also promoted recycling throughout various spots on campus and online. Our campaign was defined by our fun, simple logo and the hashtag #UNLBleedsGreen. By connecting with students, either in person or through social media, we effectively collected data on various students’ perspectives on recycling.
An important goal of our campaign was to establish an online media presence about recycling on campus. We utilized various media outlets in order to network, obtain results, and share our message with UNL students. Our group promoted the campaign on top social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #UNLBleedsGreen to give the campaign identity and a way for students to contribute to the online movement. Each member distributed tweets, posts, pictures etc. linked from their accounts so that their friends, UNL students, would notice the campaign.
A Twitter poll was conducted to understand the importance of recycling from an UNL student view. We asked the basic question, “is recycling important.” The poll was proctored for UNL students only. Results showed that even though 58% said it was important to them, 42% said that it was not. From our Twitter poll, we determined recycling does not play a significant role to students. Therefore we believe students should be educated on the good impacts of recycling in our community. Like where recycled items go and what is done with them to benefit our environment and community. By educating more students about the process, rates would be highly increased and create an impact to the prestige of the University.
To understand more about students’ views on the presence and views of recycling, we conducted a more in-depth survey and distributed it to resident hall members and Greek live-ins. We specifically geared toward these two groups since a large percentage of the campus population lives in one of the two giving us accurate feedback relating to current motives about recycling on campus. A total of 94 people answered our survey completely. We analyzed the data and came up with views on... One result that caught our eye was the answer to the question “do you recycle on UNL campus.” According to results, 39.13% of submitters recycle if a receptacle is close enough - this was the highest answer. This data states that in order to increase recycling on campus, more receptacles need to be located conveniently at frequently visited places for students. Then, we asked if the recipient had any suggestions to improve recycling on campus. Top suggestions included educate incoming freshman students how to recycle on campus at New Student Enrollment, offer incentives, more advertising to students on the positive effects of recycling and what certain items can be used for, put recycling bins in each classroom to increase convenience and ultimately putting more convenient receptacles over campus.
One of our main goals of the campaign was to promote student environmental awareness. We inferred that in order to increase recycling, the issue and it’s effects needed to be addressed to the public. Our vision was for the flyers to attract residents’ attention and ultimately encourage them to rethink where to put their trash. We focused on educating the viewer with a fact on the positive effects recycling contributes to our community. By doing this, we hoped “change culture” would come into play and sway the resident to recycle certain materials. We created two statistical flyers and dispersed them on bulletin boards, by trash chutes, and on recycling bins in Sandoz, Abel, HSS, and Knoll resident centers. Also, we displayed our flyers in the Greek houses of Kappa Alpha Theta, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, and Phi Delta Theta. The flyers contain the campaign logo, an attention-grabber heading, two facts on the powerful impacts of recycling, and the campaign hashtag to share their opinions and photos.
We wanted to get deeper into the current thoughts and opinions of students so we interviewed students representing different organizations and student living.
These student responses are important to our campaign because they represent the voices of UNL students. Some students seem knowledgeable and adapt to recycling while others could be more educated. Interviewees from Greek life state their house could be more responsible and conscious about recycling. To improve anything on a college campus the starting point always begins with the students. We posted our documentary on Vimeo and YouTube and also tweeted and posted the link on our social media accounts to spread awareness and the problems/solutions according to students on recycling at UNL.
Our group will never truly know how much of our intended audience saw and took into interest. From viewing our media posts, to actually reading the flyers it is very hard to say that our campaign was a success. Also, it’s very hard to measure if residents and students actually did recycle more or less. With lack of media participation from our audience – it is hard to say if the promotional aspects carried out. In an ideal world, students would contribute to the movement and post pictures and carrying out the trend and therefore creating more promotion and awareness.
Another thing that could’ve been more effective in our campaign would be to further educate our audience about recycling on campus. We attempted to educate the audience by posting statistics about recycling on our flyers. Although this was a small example of educating students, if more accurate and student related statistics were shared effectively then there would be a higher ability for change. To educate more we hoped to publish our documentary and survey results to a frequently accessed web-article site like Student Health 101.
One aspect that would’ve made our campaign have a better interaction with our audience is to run a competition on recycling during National Recycling Week which was November 9th through the 15th. This would have driven more residents to consciously recycle and therefore have a greater impact on the campus community. To make our campaign have a higher impact to the UNL community we want to pitch our innovative ideas to New Student Enrollment and to the UNL Recycling Program in order to improve recycling.