They are directly next to a trash can or at the entrance to a building. Sometimes they are right around the corner or in plain sight. For those of you who have made recycling somewhat of a habit then you know exactly where the recycling bins are numerous locations around campus. For those of you who have at least thrown a pop can or a plastic bottle in one of the bins once or twice, then you still might know what I am talking about. For those of you who did not have a clue that this campus even had recycling bins nor really care, let me just say I am disappointed.

I have learned a great deal from my first semester at Southwestern. Of the many things I have learned, what I have found most valuable is that what we start doing now can change the future. I don’t mean this in the sense of environmentally friendly subjects, for I truly believe that our generation holds the keys to the future. It does come back to the fact, though, that the decisions we make today do influence what happens tomorrow. When it comes to recycling, the decision on whether or not we do it could be a major factor in the future and there is no reason why there shouldn’t be more efforts to start recycling around campus.

Instead of throwing that plastic bottle or that pop can in the trash next time, take a minute and think, “Why am I throwing this away when I can just as easily put it in a recycle bin?” Or maybe when you’re in your room and you finish a bottle of Gatorade, instead of tossing it over to the waste basket, unscrew the lid and save the bottle for when you go out, then just throw it into the first bin you come across. Honestly, it’s not that hard.

Is recycling the answer to all of our problems? If you throw a plastic bottle into one of the recycling bins on campus will it stop global warming or fix a patch in the ozone layer? Of course not. Are these excuses for not doing it? I don’t think so and I don’t think there is any reason you should either.

It isn’t just people who do not recycle that are hurting the environment in which we live in. Every day there are those who wake up, get dressed, go outside and get in their vehicle to drive to class when they can easily walk. I see this as nothing more than a capital act of laziness. I can see some exceptions such as maybe you are injured or handicapped and you don’t have a choice, or possibly you are just super late for class and are at risk of failing. Other than that I don’t understand why people waste gas and hurt the environment just to save a couple extra minutes. It is a very small campus after all and walking or riding a bike certainly isn’t going to do harm to your health.

These little things we start doing now can help change the future for the better and not doing them because we are too tired or because we don’t feel like it is ridiculous. While we are all busy and have our work we have to do, there is no reason we can’t take a little bit of time out of our day to go put plastic bottles or pop cans in a recycling bin, or take that extra five or so minutes to walk to our destination rather than pollute the environment that we all live in by driving. I think if we all took a little time to think, “I could really help make a change for the better if I start doing these things,” then our world would be a better place. It only takes one person to start making a change for the better. So why not be that one?

Clint Dick is a freshman majoring in convergent journalism. You may e-mail him at