Orion Jones uses green thumb to make changes
By: Olivia Wile
Aside from a few blue recycling bins in buildings like the Alumni Memorial Union and the Center for Students Life and College of Business, the University of Findlay has never had a formal system for recycling. Which, after being ranked again as one of the “best four-year institutions around the Midwest” by the Princeton Review, is a little surprising.
The 2019-2020 academic year is bringing a new change to campus, however. A change that Director of the UF Physical Plant Orion Jones says will make campus greener.
“The way we were doing things at the University was not being successful,” said Jones. “We’re moving forward and being conscious of what our footprint is and how we affect the environment.”
Only half of a year into his new role at the University, Jones has been hard at work all summer implementing a new waste-management system. He was sure to update students, faculty and staff throughout the summer, sending out UF updates on the progress. This progress includes setting up two receptacles near office desks of staff – one that is black for trash, and a larger one for office paper. Jones explains neither bins have liners as an attempt to reduce plastic use. Common areas also have bins for plastic bottles and metal cans.
As for student living spaces, Jones says he’s teaming up with Student Green Group to develop a better system.
“I wanted students to have buy-in and have input, so I wanted to involve them in those decisions and in the process,” explained Jones. “I’m working with Student Green Group as well to involve them in the process because I didn’t incorporate the infrastructure for how we’re collecting on a student level – individual dorm rooms, houses, all the common areas.”
While becoming a more eco-friendly campus will help the environment, Jones says it will also help the University’s finances.
“Green equals green and we are reducing our waste which is also reducing our cost of waste. And, we’re reducing our energy use which is reducing our energy purchasing,” said Jones. “It’s nice when it’s the right thing to do and it’s also the right financial thing to do.”
As this is the first year UF has ever had such a waste management system, Jones says his main goal is changing the campus culture and mindset.
“It matters. It’s my base statement, we have it on the back of our tee shirts for the changing of our culture,” said Jones. “Call it the buy-in aspect of everyone being on board and having it be part of our culture of who we are as a University.
“It matters when you choose not to not throw your can away in the right recycling bin and it matters when you take that piece of paper and you just throw it away,” concluded Jones.