In today's world, many people are striving to be more conscientious of our planet by recycling and adopting other ways to live green. GreenWorks! of Davis & Elkins College is helping make that goal easier for students and Randolph County residents alike.
GreenWorks! is a student organization concerned with sustainability. It was established as a campus and community outreach arm of the Center of Sustainability Studies of D&E.
Russ McClain, director of the Center for Sustainability Studies of D&E, said he and many others from the campus could not be more proud of the accomplishments of GreenWorks! members.
GreenWorks! members, Bethany Hall and David Goodman, install solar panels and LED lighting in the gazebo on the D&E campus.
"Not only have GreenWorks! members earned national recognition, but they have greatly contributed to a better quality of life for all of us," said McClain.
One of the biggest accomplishments of Greenworks! is that it is a recipient of a Pearson Sustainable Solutions Award. This national award, given by Pearson Publishers, recognized the group's contribution to the re-establishment and expansion of recycling in Randolph County and on the D&E Campus. The re-establishment and expansion was in partnership with the Randolph County Solid Waste Authority, Tygart Valley Sanitation and the Elkins Recycling Center. The cash award will be used to help support GreenWorks! trip to the Mother Earth News Conference in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania, in September.
"GreenWorks! has many other deeds to be proud of," McClain said. "Members have sponsored student assemblies and raised monty to help purchase recycling bins in the D&E dormitories, special recycling bins for the dining services, and battery recycling stations on the D&E campus. Recycling bins placed on campus for plastic bottles helped enable plastics recycling to become a reality in Randolph County."
In April, the group worked on an electronics recycling day during which enough electrical components were collected to fill an entire 26-foot tractor trailer in a single day. In September, the group will sponsor another electronics recycling day.
A public screening of "Gasland" was hosted by the group and a discussion on the subject on the film was hosted afterward. "Gasland" dealt with the concerns of the environmental issues related to Marcellus shale drilling.
Each year, GreenWorks! members travel to the Mother Earth News Sustainability Conference in Seven Springs, Pennsylvania, giving them the opportunity to learn and network with other groups.
The West Virginia Sustainability Fair is sponsored by GreenWorks! Last year, the fair featured a dinner, music, vendors and a workshop on how to set up and use rain barrels.
On the D&E campus, members established a switchout campaign. So far they have exchanged conventional light bulbs for compact fluorescent bulbs in Eshleman Science Center and part of Halliehurst. It is estimated that this change over will result in a savings of $1,500 per year for the college. The group plans to continue with this project, changing out bulbs in other buildings.
"This year, Yanery Hidalgo will lead GreenWorks! as president, and Jael Fedora will be vice president," McClain said. "Everyone is very excited to get started for this year."
Anyone wanting to join the organization should call the Department of Sustainability Studies of D&E College at 304-637-1900.