The members of Alpha Gamma Sigma are getting a return on their investment with their recycling program. A group of dedicated students from the Merced College honor society are not only promoting a dream of a ‘green’ future, but also opportunities for success.

The AGS Recycling Program dedicated their manpower to a hefty project, finding ways to reduce waste on campus. While the College participates in yearly events for the disposal of e-waste for the city, these students applied a similar practice on a smaller scale.

By creating a business model, the members of the honor society acquired the recycling materials through a grant proposal presented to corporate giant Coca-Cola back in 2013. Containers can be spotted across campus promoting the proper disposal of recyclable material including plastic bottles and aluminum. The committee’s focus on high-traffic areas, such as the campus Student Union and areas for sporting events has greatly diminished the amount of recyclable waste going to landfills.

The program itself has become a division of the Honor Society, with co-chairs James Mitchell Dover and Siclaly Arellanes leading the charge to ‘go green.’ While they collect revenue from the California Redemptive Value placed on all recyclables, that money is allocated right back into the hands of students. When asked about the program, Dover states that the money they earn goes toward a scholarship within AGS, presented at the end of semester to the club member credited with academic excellence and contribution the program. The scholarship not only rewards students for their hard work, but also motivates them to better the campus and community.

Members assign two one-hour blocks during the business week where collecting and separating take place. It holds the students accountable for ensuring that the project remains a priority and allow for everyone’s contribution. Once the collection days are set, golf carts and cars regularly transport the waste.

The Alpha Gamma Sigma recycling committee continues growing, and is setting its sights on expanding across Merced’s campus. They strive for a standard of eco-friendliness comparable to that of UC Merced’s program, attempting a policy of zero landfill waste by 2020. They are currently at an 80 percent diversion rate, where zero waste is considered anything over 95 percent.

For more information or to get involved, you can contact AGS on Twitter (@gammatau_Merced) or Facebook (Ags MercedCollege).

To see all the club opportunities on campus click here.

-- Submitted by Alessandria Pedretti