Green Leadership, Part 2: ONU Recycles
From their cars to their homes, people everywhere are taking steps to "go green." The same is true for the Ohio Northern University community and many have been active before the movement was popular. This series honors some of those students who have taken leadership roles in campus organizations that focus on the environment and its protection.From their cars to their homes, people everywhere are taking steps to "go green." The same is true for the Ohio Northern University community and many have been active before the movement was popular. This series honors some of those students who have taken leadership roles in campus organizations that focus on the environment and its protection.
Christopher Wetzel and Taylor Gauthier, ONU Recycles Facilitators
Christopher Wetzel, senior accounting major, and Taylor Gauthier, second-year pharmacy major, are ready to take over ONU Recycles. As co-facilitators, the pair has big plans for the group.
"I would like to increase our membership and continue expanding our list of recyclable items," says Wetzel.
Gauthier's goals have a slightly different focus. "I want to run more efficient meetings and increase the number of bins around campus to make recycling more convenient. Our ultimate goal is to get students excited enough about recycling that they make it a part of their lifestyle," she says.
The group has reached one long-term goal: It now has the ability to collect tin and plastics, along with paper, cardboard and aluminum. In addition, ONU Recycles teamed up last year with the Ohio Northern Environmentalists and the Biological Student Association to put on the most successful Earth Week events in four years.
Both Gauthier and Wetzel first learned of ONU Recycles at Welcome Fest, a festival that allows students to find out what clubs and organizations are available at ONU. After meeting the members and taking part in a few activities, both knew that they wanted to be more involved with the program.
Being members and becoming leaders of ONU Recycles has helped Gauthier and Wetzel develop abilities that they can use now and throughout their lives.
"Leading the recycling program has helped me develop leadership skills and professionalism that I can bring to the classroom and other campus groups," says Gauthier.
"ONU Recycles has provided a great deal of experience with planning, organizing and coordinating. You really get a healthy dose of logistics," says Wetzel. "Plus, the members are just a phenomenal group of people to be around."
Wetzel and Gauthier ask that everyone on campus pitch in to help ONU Recycles by reducing individual consumption, recycling as many materials as possible and putting only recyclable items in the collection bins.
Ben Wollet, Ohio Northern Environmentalists (O.N.E.) facilitator
Ben Wollet, senior history major from Strongsville, Ohio, became a member of Ohio Northern Environmentalists (O.N.E.) almost as soon as he stepped foot on campus.
"The O.N.E. booth at Welcome Fest, a festival that gives freshman an opportunity to learn about campus clubs and organizations, caught my eye and I've been hooked ever since," Wollet explains. "The group's message, attitude and interests were just what I was looking for."
Wollet's position as facilitator is not the first leadership role he has taken within the group. During his sophomore year, he took the opportunity to serve as the group's secretary and was able to take some direct action in the group's activities. He feels that as the facilitator, it is his responsibility to make the group fun and engaging for members while also promoting the group and its causes among non-members.
His vision for O.N.E. and ONU has two components: to expand environmental awareness within the University community and to promote "green" sustainable practices on campus.
He encourages the use of recycled paper in departments and printing labs to conserve trees and to alter the thermostats in buildings a few degrees to save energy and money. Wollet also suggests that the use of Styrofoam and plastic products be reduced in the campus dining facilities. He strongly supports the use of alternative energy, such as wind and solar, and hopes the University explores using both options in the near future.
Wollet is continuously studying how American and overseas universities are reducing their burdens on the planet, and hopes Ohio Northern's environmentally friendly efforts will continue to make the University a stronger player in the green movement.
Julia Kropp, Ohio Northern Environmentalists (O.N.E.) vice facilitator
Julia Kropp is looking forward to her new leadership opportunity within Ohio Northern Environmentalists (O.N.E.). The senior electrical engineering major from Aurora, Ohio, was elected to be vice facilitator for this year, and it has changed her approach to both leading and conserving.
"When I was just a member of O.N.E., I cared about the environment very much and wanted it preserved, but I didn't know what could be done," Kropp explains.
So she decided that she would lead O.N.E. by example and researched what she could do to reduce her personal negative impact on the environment. As a result, Kropp has become much more environmentally friendly and wants to show others the big differences that small changes can make. She feels that her efforts to be environmentally conscious make her a better leader.
In addition to her rewards in leadership, Kropp feels good about doing her part to preserve resources.
"Just knowing that I am giving a little bit to make this world a cleaner and better place is an amazing feeling," she says.
Like Wollet, Kropp became involved in O.N.E. her freshman year after seeing the booth at Welcome Fest. As a life-long nature lover, she was ecstatic to learn that Ohio Northern had an environmentalist club and was eager to join.
She says that she has met a lot of interesting people through O.N.E., and hopes to get to know its members even more now that she is vice facilitator.
Senior, professional writing major