OPINION: Is Big Red still going green?

This story was originally featured in the Herald’s latest issue – “The Climate Issue” – on Jan. 30.

At the beginning of this new year, as with the start of any new year, we have been given the perfect time to reflect on the year that was 2022 while looking to see how far we still need to go.
This includes issues like climate change. For decades, experts have been warning about the dangers. 2023 will doubtless be no different. When I came back to WKU’s cam- pus at the beginning of last semester, one thing I noticed early on was the lack of recycling bins around campus. Last year as a freshman, I found it refreshing to see a college campus working to recycle and minimize its impact on climate change, however small it may be.

Now, however, there are fewer of these bins noticeable. When I first noticed this in DSU across from Chick- fil-A and Steak ‘n Shake, I began to look elsewhere on campus during my day-to-day trekking up and down the Hill. I was surprised to see that there were fewer recycling bins noticeable on campus.

Megan Fisher

This is not to say that all of these bins have been done away with. According to Jace Lux, WKU Director of Media Relations, “there has been no change to the number of recycling bins on cam- pus from the fall semester to the cur- rent semester.” While this may be the case, the opening of new buildings like the Commons requires more recycling bins on campus, not a redistribution of those the university currently has. The lack of visibility of these bins creates the feeling that WKU is not trying as hard to do its part in protecting the planet for future generations.


Now is not the time for WKU to go back on its efforts to promote and increase recycling and other climate-friendly practices.

Every student on WKU’s campus is in different phases of change and un- certainty in their lives. Each one is creating habits, discovering things about the world and discovering things about themselves. We take a new interest in the world we live in, many of us hoping to preserve it for as long as we can.

For these reasons, WKU needs to redouble its efforts to recycle and pro- mote green living. Instead, WKU has chosen to seemingly back away from this cause.

Since I first stepped on the Hill in fall 2021, I have heard students around campus wonder what happens to things recycled on campus. I have heard people say that they have seen the recycling and the trash end up in the same vehicle to go to the same place. Whether this is the case or not I do not know, but it is important to make this distinction known.

It is time for the university to openly show the WKU community how the school is committed to doing its part to combat climate change and protect this planet for its students, present and future.

It is important to note, of course, that it is large corporations and big businesses that bear the most responsibility in climate change. If meaningful change is to be made, governments around the globe must put into place laws and regulations to limit the continual release of greenhouse gasses into the air. Big businesses must be made to find renewable energy sources or limit their burning of fossil fuels.

While WKU may not have a large impact on climate change, it can have a large impact on the lives of its students. The university visibly showing its commitment to doing its part will encourage its young, impressionable students to take an interest and begin to care. Instead of seemingly stepping away from the cause, WKU can become a model in the lives of its students and continue to shape their lives outside of the classroom.

Commentary editor Price Wilborn can be reached at edwin.wilborn835@ topper.wku.edu. Follow him on Twitter @pricewilborn.