Category Archives: Sustainable Community Building
Richland College was named the 2014 RecycleMania Grand Champion of Texas and ranked third nationally out of 461 participating colleges and universities.
RecycleMania’s mission of inspiring environmental and social consciousness fits perfectly with Richland College’s vision to build sustainable local and world community. Richland has participated in RecycleMania since 2009, taking the Texas Grand Champion title in 2014, 2012, 2011 and 2010.
RecycleMania’s Grand Champion category is based on a weekly recycling rate. Richland’s recycling rate for the competition was 75.1 percent. Antioch University Seattle was the 2014 RecycleMania National Grand Champion with a weekly recycling rate of 93.13 percent. University of Missouri-Kansas City finished second with 81.05 percent.
During 2014 RecycleMania, participating institutions collectively recycled or composted 89.1 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials, preventing the release of 126,597 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent into the atmosphere – equal to the annual emissions from 24,823 cars.
According to RecycleMania, Richland College’s activities during this year’s competition prevented the release of 335 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent or the same reduction in greenhouse gases as removing 66 passenger cars from the road.
RecycleMania started in 2001 as a friendly challenge between Ohio University and Miami University to increase recycling on their campuses. The competition has expanded from two schools in 2001 to 461 colleges and universities in 2014 spanning all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.
Complete results for all 11 competition categories can be found on recyclemania.org, including a breakdown showing how schools performed by athletic conference, institution size, state and other groupings.
Richland College hosted 247 area high school students for “Engineering the Future,” a special event highlighting the engineering and technology fields of study. The event, held Feb. 17 and Feb. 19, coincided with National Engineers Week. Students from North Dallas, Garland, North Garland, Naaman Forest and Conrad high schools participated in various activities including a rocket launch, meetings with college and university representatives, special presentations by Richland College and Texas A&M University-Commerce officials and a campus tour.
Richland College Garland Campus and Dallas County Manufacturers’ Association received a $358,246 check on Jan. 24 from the Texas Workforce Commission. Commissioner Hope Andrade presented the funds to Richland College and five Dallas County Manufacturers’ Association companies for workforce skills training. Companies included in the grant are Atlas Copco Drilling Solutions, RHE Hatco Inc., Sherwin Williams (Garland, Arlington, Ennis and Waco plants), Unity Mfg. and Work Area Protection. The grant provides funding for Richland College to instruct 345 employees for a more than 9,250 training hours. Training under the grant includes “Lean Manufacturing,” programmable logic controls fundamentals, CPR/first aid, Six Sigma Green Belt, Microsoft Office, welding and forklift certification.
The Asian & Pacific Islander American Scholarship Fund (APIASF), in collaboration with the Association for Asian American Studies, released a new, national report, “Invisible Newcomers: Refugees from Burma/Myanmar and Bhutan in the United States,” that gives voice to and provides comprehensive data about the challenges surrounding these refugee populations.
Kathryn K. Eggleston, Richland College’s president, served as a member of the review committee for the “Invisible Newcomers” report. Richland College is a designated Asian American Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institution (AANAPISI).
The need for a report such as “Invisible Newcomers” was identified through continual assessment of APIASF’s scholarship application cycle, said Neil Horikoshi, APIASF president and executive director.
“We discovered that a growing number of our applicants and scholarship recipients are from the Burmese and Bhutanese communities,” Mr. Horikoshi said. “Further investigation into these groups demonstrated the need for access to educational resources as well as additional research to inform policymakers, higher education leaders and other resource providers about the experiences of students.”
The report found that serious challenges for Burmese and Bhutanese refugees include difficulty navigating systems to access long-term funding and support services; limited English proficiency; intergenerational conflict between children/youth and elders; and the inability to communicate in various realms, including educational access and employment resources.
The APIASF identified several policy implications and made recommendations including:
- The length of time that adult refugees are eligible for English language education and social support services should be extended.
- Special attention needs to be paid to the educational outcomes of the refugee population who arrive during their teen years. Some 39 percent of Burmese refugees in the United States have dropped out of high school. This population needs programs to help ease their transition. Intensive educational and social support should be provided to teens to help increase high school graduation rates.
- Job training and job development are critical factors contributing to improved socioeconomic status. Organizations should strategically provide training to refugees that will lead to permanent positions and focus on areas with future job growth.
Richland College works closely with the APIASF. For the 2013–14 academic year , Richland College was one of only nine higher education institutions in the U.S. through which the APIASF offered scholarships to AANAPISI students.
In 2010, Richland College received a five-year AANAPISI grant from the U.S. Department of Education that will total more than $1.4 million in funding. This AANAPISI funding impacts many of Richland College’s underserved students, as 14 percent of the college’s student population is composed of Asian American students with at least half of those demonstrating financial need.
Who: Richland College Garland Campus and Dallas County Manufacturers’ Association
What: Commissioner Hope Andrade from the Texas Workforce Commission will present a $358,246 check to Richland College and five Dallas County Manufacturers’ Association companies for workforce skills training. The grant provides funding for Richland College to instruct 345 employees for a more than 9,250 training hours.
When: 2 p.m. on Jan. 24, 2014
Where: Richland College Garland Campus, 675 W. Walnut Street in Garland
For more information, contact Tandy Dollar at firstname.lastname@example.org or 214-360-1221.
Russian students visiting from Saratov State University gave a presentation at Richland College on Nov. 13. The students met first with Richland College faculty members and administrators who participated the International Education Seminar at Saratov State University in 2009. The educators who facilitated the 2009 seminar were Fred Newbury, Martha Hogan, Mary Darin, Susan Barkley, M.T. Hickman and Jeana Remington. The Russian students also attended various classes on Nov. 13 before presenting on “Life in Russia.” The visit is a continuation of Richland’s relationship with Saratov State University, which includes courses offered thorough the Virtual International Classroom, visits to Richland and Saratov by faculty members and students and a Fulbright scholar from Russia and a faculty member from Richland serving as a visiting lecturer at Saratov State. Richland College also will honor International Education Week with an open house in its Multicultural Center on Nov. 21.
Richland College and other sponsors are partnering with the City of Richardson and The NETWORK of Community Ministries to help the Richardson community with the “Gathering Soles for NETWORK” shoe drive.
The “Gathering Soles for NETWORK” shoe drive is being held in conjunction with “Ask Not…the Dallas County Day of Service,” which is bringing communities throughout Dallas County together to honor the life and legacy of President John F. Kennedy during the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of his death.
“We are proud at the City to partner with the NETWORK of Community Ministries to address a significant need,” Richardson Mayor Laura Maczka said. “NETWORK has helped so many people in need in our community, through the food pantry, assistance through Seniors’ Net and so many other services. We heard of a need from our friends at NETWORK, and this particular project is a fantastic way for the Richardson community to take part in the larger Dallas County Day of Service.”
Members of the community are asked to donate new or gently used shoes to NETWORK through Nov. 21. Collection sites with specially marked bins at Richland College are in:
- El Paso Hall, by the Office of Student Life
- Wichita Hall’s lower lobby, by Room WH115
- Crockett Hall, by the elevator on the first floor
Click here to see a list of city of Richardson facilities that will serve as collection points. Donations also may be dropped off at the NETWORK main office, 741 Sherman St. in Richardson.
Richland College is joined by these sponsors for the shoe drive: Methodist Richardson Medical Center; Richardson Girl Scout Troops 2120, 2477 and 9409; and the University of Texas at Dallas Office of Student Volunteerism. Each of these partner agencies has also placed bins at their facilities to collect shoes.
Shoes that are donated will be distributed to families through the Richardson-North Dallas Family Clothing Center, operated by NETWORK. Through the program, impoverished families are able, at no cost, to select clothing and shoes. A particular need is shoes for children of all ages, from babies through teenagers.
“The Gathering Soles for NETWORK program will do so much to help our organization and all of our clients in the Richardson community,” said NETWORK Board President Chris Barnes. “Good shoes allow children to go to school and their parents to go to work. Thank you so much to the City of Richardson for its support in addressing this great need.”
NETWORK of Community Ministries, founded in 1985, serves families and individuals in Richardson and the surrounding areas of Dallas County, including parts of Dallas and Garland. More than 46,000 individuals receive assistance each year.
This spring, a team of Richland College anthropology students found more than just banana peels, empty coffee cups and plastic bottles in the trash on campus – they found a treasure trove of data.
Professor Lesley Daspit’s anthropology students uncovered interesting patterns in recycling behaviors on campus that give Richland College leaders valuable insight into how to improve current sustainability practices.
The group of students – known as “garbologists” – also noticed after digging through almost 600 pounds of trash that recycling rates at Richland College would improve if recycling receptacles were placed in the outlying areas of campus, such as the soccer fields and parking lots.
“It was a dirty job,” Dr. Daspit said with a smile. “I am very proud of my students; they have worked hard on this research project.”
Before they riffled through the refuse, Dr. Daspit taught her Introduction to Archeology students the proper anthropological techniques for how to study artifacts and gain insight into the people to whom they belonged.
“Garbology is the study of modern refuse and trash,” Dr. Daspit said. “Archeology used to just deal with people in the past, but garbology has taken us into new venues such as landfills and college campuses.”
One student, Gigi Lofland, said she learned that analyzing a community’s garbage is nothing new to anthropology or archeology.
“Studying trash is legitimate archeology,” she said. “We learned about trash middens, or trash heaps. Archeologists have been learning about societies and understanding cultures through middens for years.”
Dr. Daspit’s class started the garbology research project by surveying fellow students about their recycling habits at home and on campus and their awareness of Richland College’s recycling initiatives.
The garbologists found that of the 88 students surveyed, 47 percent recycle at home, 77 percent recycle on campus, but only 14 percent were aware that Richland College was participating this spring in Recyclemania, a national contest among colleges and universities. Richland College won top state honors in 2010, 2011 and 2012 in Recyclemania and consistently ranks in the top 10 nationally.
Tales from the Trash
Dr. Daspit’s students also got their hands dirty. They collected 599 pounds of garbage from 18 collections sites on Richland College’s 243-acre campus. The team studied trash receptacles from inside and outside campus buildings.
From the rubbish, the garbology team sorted out 1,368 items that could have been recycled. The majority of the recyclables found were plastic bottles (56 percent), followed by plastic bags (27 percent), cans (12 percent) and glass items (5 percent).
Practicing good anthropological technique, the students also included observation as part of their research. They spent a total of eight hours watching what people threw in the waste bins at various locations on campus.
The garbologists discovered that 52 percent of the 79 people they observed threw away items that could have been recycled. The students think placing recycling bins closer to waste receptacles and simply adding more recycling bins on campus would encourage more recycling.
Students said they were amazed by the amount of food and beverage waste they found, which included many half-full drink bottles, an unopened six-pack of Gatorade, a full box of peanut butter crackers, unopened granola bars, whole coconuts and an unopened jar of tomato sauce.
That wasn’t the only surprise the students discovered in the garbage.
“We found a bundle of perfectly good iPod cords,” said student Isaak Lee. “We couldn’t figure that one out.”
Not surprisingly, the class found items from across the globe in the waste bins. Richland College’s student body of some 20,000 college credit students and another 5,000 continuing education students is internationally and ethnically diverse, speaking more than 79 first languages.
“I knew we had a really diverse community at Richland College but it was really neat to see that show up in the trash,” Gigi said.
Among the international refuse were chips from Korea, soymilk from Malaysia, fruit drinks from Mexico and Belgium, dates from China, a natural toothbrush from Pakistan and a calling card to call Ethiopia.
The garbology team recorded more of their observations and adventures on the Richland College Garbology Blog.
Ideas for the Future
At the end of their project, Dr. Daspit and the class presented their findings and recommendations to college leaders, which included:
- installing recycling bins in the campus parking lots and athletic fields
- placing recycling and waste bins in closer proximity
- standardizing the look of recycling bins
- posting signage atop the bins indicating what can go in respective recycling bins
- increasing student and employee awareness and participation in recycling on campus
- expanding the study to include offices and classrooms
- exploring partnerships with food vendors on campus to reduce plastic packaging waste and
- further studying food and beverage waste on campus.
The students hope that garbology won’t be a one-time class project at Richland College.
“We definitely should keep it going. It needs to be studied year round,” Isaak said. “I’ll definitely recycle more after what I’ve seen. There’s still a lot to work on.”
Seeing the change in students’ awareness and attitudes about environmental sustainability is gratifying, Dr. Daspit said.
“That’s what I love about the project – something so simple as a waste audit can have a cascading effect across campus and into our lives,” Dr. Daspit said.
Jerry Owens, Richland College’s assistant director of Facilities Services, who leads the college’s energy conservation and sustainability efforts, said the garbology project provides important information for sustainability initiatives.
“Their project was very helpful to us,” he said. “We already knew that there was an opportunity for more recycling in the parking lots and outer areas, but the project gave us some good data. One of the best things about this is that students are getting more involved and aware.”
Mr. Owens said that Facilities Services has been working not only with Dr. Daspit’s students but also with other Service Learning groups on campus.
“We are happy to partner with students and we hope to work more closely with them in the future,” he said.
The garbology project ties into Richland College’s active commitment to the triple-bottom line of social equity and justice, economic viability and environmental vitality. Richland provides educational programs, services, processes and practices to empower students to achieve their educational goals and become lifelong learners and responsible global citizens, building sustainable local and world community.
Richland College has received awards and recognitions for its commitment to environmental sustainability from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education, the Dallas Business Journal, the Community College Journal, the Rocky Mountain Institute and the North Texas Corporate Recycling Association. The U.S. Green Building Council awarded LEED Platinum certification for Richland College’s Sabine Hall science building and LEED Gold certification for the Richland College Garland Campus.
Richland College students have turned trash into a treasure trove of data about recycling and how campus habits can improve environmental sustainability. They also learned interesting lessons in archeological collection and study of modern refuse and trash as they analyzed what people at Richland discarded in trash receptacles across campus.
WHAT: Students in Introduction to Archaeology, taught by Dr. Lesley Daspit, will present findings and recommendations from their ‘garbology’ research project.
WHEN: Wednesday, May 15 at 11 a.m. *Live garbology demonstration after the presentation*
WHERE: Room P141 in Pecos Hall at Richland College, 12800 Abrams Road in Dallas
Campus Map — park in Lot E on west side of campus
Richland College is offering two camps this summer for young students. See below for details. Richland College is located at 12800 Abrams Road in Dallas.
Richland College STEM Camp 2013
Richland College will once again offer its industry-recognized summer camp to introduce young students to careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The three-week camp designed for students ages 13-18 will be from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Mondays through Fridays, June 10-28, at Richland College. Tuition for STEM Camp is $300. Enrollment is limited to 100 students who must be U.S. citizens or documented residents. Visit www.richlandcollege.edu/engineering/stem for more information and for an application. To register, contact Teresa Lynd at email@example.com or 972-238-3797, Jocyln Hanson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 214-890-3849, or Roderick Crowder at email@example.com or 972-238-6934.
Richland College Robots-4-U Summer Day Camp
Richland College is hosting three sessions of Robots-4-U summer day camp. Campers ages 7 to 17 will learn science, problem solving, teamwork and technological skills as they build robots. Robots-4-U provides boys and girls a hands-on learning experience for beginner to master levels. Tuition for the five-day camp is $399.95 per camper. Robots-4-U is from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. during the weeks of June 10-14, July 22-26 and Aug. 12-16. Campers need to bring their lunches. Class size is limited. For more information, call 972-782-2503 or visit www.robots-4-u.com/c-richland-college-robotics-day-camp.html.