Environmentalists swear by the three R’s: reduce, reuse, and recycle. On Kalamazoo College’s campus, students can participate in all of those processes by visiting two student-run resources located in the basement of DeWaters Hall.
An initiative of the recycling program at K, the Resource Exchange Program (REP room) and Helping Understand Bikes (the HUB) have free resources for students including a bike rental service. Both the HUB and REP are also staffed by students.
The HUB initiative is geared towards making bikes easily accessible for students as an alternative mode of transport that is environmentally friendly.
“85 percent of the parts that we use are reused from other bikes that we’ve scrapped,” said Harrison Parkes K’17, an intern at HUB and REP.
Students can rent bikes for three days at a time and even bring in their own bikes for help in repairing them.
This is in keeping with their recycling mission as parts from donated bicycles are reused in maintenance and repair.
“This was the brainchild of Rob Townsend,” said Kalyn Campbell K’18, who works on dismantling old bikes and recycling parts for repairs. Student workers also learn to improvise in fixing the bikes. Although training is provided for new workers, most of the learning takes place on the job.
Students may be more familiar with the REP room as the place to get school stationery, books, clothes and even kitchen supplies for free, but they may not know that it is also the best place for students to deposit their old electronic appliances. The e-Waste Center accepts electronic waste and other items that must be disposed of beyond landfills.
The recycling efforts go on even during the winter. According to Parkes, they will be undertaking several projects, building things out of unused material including a compost tumbler and a dome out of old bike rims for vines and plants to grow around.
The recycling program at K offers a different perspective by emphasizing on the reutilization and redistribution aspect of the process—two more R’s that HUB and REP look to emphasize on campus.