|Networking and Outreach|
Communication with professionals in the same field is essential to keeping up to date on current recycling industry and education developments. Countless opportunities will arise for recycling program expansion and efficiency by learning about how other colleges and universities are handling collection and processing operations, community outreach and education, and responding to changes in recycling markets and technology. Networking can exist on a local level with other schools and recycling industry professionals in the state or region, or on a larger scale through national and global organizations.
Committees, Professional Organizations, and Partnerships
Involvement in professional organizations and committees is an important opportunity for recycling professionals as these groups provide professional information, resources, support, and networking possibilities. The individuals that participate in such groups can also provide valuable input relating to a wide variety of disciplines. On-campus committees (such as an Environmental Issues or Sustainable Development committees) and local or regional professional organizations are a great place to start, but it is also valuable to connect with a wider range of people in order to broaden the scope of knowledge and resources that can be offered through the campus recycling effort. Partnerships can form when stakeholders, from manufacturers to recyclers to consumers, work toward the common goal of waste reduction and material recovery.
The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE) is the premier organization for networking among colleges and universities. AASHE holds an annual conference as part of its professional development program as well as workshops, webinars, discussion forums, and events co-sponsored with AASHE partners. AASHE is also responsible for hosting the reporting tool used to track the progress made by American College & Universities Presidents Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) signatories. For more information about the ACUPCC see Chapter 29: Campus Sustainability.
A listserv is an online forum that allows the user to enter into a dialogue with other listserv users after subscribing. There are several environmentally focused listservs available at no cost for participation. These communications are commonly available either in per posting format or as a weekly digest.
With numerous participants in a listserv from a variety of fields (depending on the scope of the forum) there may be discussions that will not be relevant to a recycling program on a given campus. However, topics may be relevant to other departments on campus and many of the topics will be applicable if an appropriate listserv is chosen. Do not give up on a listserv if an occasional irrelevant topic comes up.
Conferences provide a way for professionals to meet in person, increase dialogue and create mutually beneficial communication structures to maintain after the end of the conference. Coalitions and working groups can be formed to collaborate with recycled material manufactures, lawmakers, environmental non-profit leaders, and other stakeholders. Key note speeches, panel discussions, workshops, and small group brainstorming sessions are all ways to stimulate informed discussion during and following conferences.
Magazines, organization newsletters, and professional journals provide another way of staying up to date on recent trends and advancements in waste management. Reading a broad range of materials sparks creative ideas for expanding the scope of a recycling program beyond on materials collection. Scholarly publications offer peer reviewed information that can then be relayed to the public at educational events.
Sustainable Sources Discussion Areas
EPA Climate Change ListServs
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