CSI’s Sustainability Initiative celebrates a successful three-month pilot to make CSI cleaner, one bottle at a time.

The College of Staten Island’s Sustainability Initiative has launched its campaign to make CSI more sustainable and cleaner, one bottle at a time, collecting nearly 6,000 bottles and cans in its first 14 weeks. What had initially started as a sustainable impact competition among CSI’s athletic teams quickly developed into a collaboration encompassing the Division of Economic Development, Continuing Studies, and Government Relations; CSI Athletics; Facilities Management and Operational Services; and the AHRC NYC Melissa Riggio Higher Education Program. As a result of the energy and commitment of CSI students to have a more sustainable campus and the success of this pilot initiative, the recycling campaign expanded from the Sports and Recreation Center to include the Campus Center and Dolphin Cove student housing complexes.

This collaboration was made in partnership with PepsiCo, which provided free “Dream Machine” recycling bins. CSI effectively joined their mission to “increase the U.S. recycling rate for beverage containers.” On par with their vision that “bigger change starts with one bottle, with one person, with one action,” CSI’s Sustainability Initiative will set a goal to collect 15,000 bottles and cans by the end of the Spring 2019 semester. All proceeds will be used to replace a water filling station in the Sports and Recreation Center to encourage students, faculty, and staff use reusable water bottles.

Major contributors to this initiative are the hard-working students in the AHRC NYC Melissa Riggio Higher Education Program, whose mission is “supporting people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities to build full lives.” Melissa Riggio students have been diligently tabling at events, educating students, faculty, and staff about the importance of recycling and raising awareness of how waste is created on campus. One of their senior students, Jared, decided to join the Sustainability Club in its recycling efforts as part of his final project, which is meant to address personal goals, interests, and community engagement. Jared has expressed in the past that he would like to learn how to recycle and use natural resources efficiently. Since Jared has joined the Sustainability Club, he has learned the importance and significance of recycling.

The Sustainability Club was able to provide Melissa Riggio students with weekly workshops during the Winter Semester and helped involve them not only in their own projects, but into activities around the campus. That level of involvement is a large goal for the program, as it provides Melissa Riggio students with  the opportunity to be a part of the campus community and gives other students a more open and diverse experience while attending college.