MU student receives Campus Sustainability Champion Award

Jean Georges
Features Writer

 Stephanie Bradley with the waste she collected for the TerraCycle program.
Stephanie Bradley with the waste she collected for the TerraCycle program.

Each year, the Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium (PERC) recognizes universities across Pennsylvania with the Campus Sustainability Champion (CSC) Award. This year, Millersville’s own Stephanie Bradley, a junior majoring in social work, has been recognized with the award that was announced at the PERC 2014 Fall Conference, held Nov. 12 at Penn State University’s University Park campus in State College.

“It feels great to have won the CSC Award,” said Bradley, who is involved in helping with several programs at Millersville’s Center for Sustainability, a center whose mission is to educate the campus community about sustainability, provide opportunities for MU to directly participate in sustainability initiatives on and off campus and encourage student and faculty-led research and service on sustainability.

“A lot of people have come up to me and congratulated me on it, and have been asking more about what I do. I’m just excited that more people are hearing about TerraCycle,” Bradley said.

TerraCycle is one of the programs at Millersville that Bradley helps implement. It’s a campus initiative designed to work with the company TerraCycle, a business headquartered in New Jersey that upcycles previously non-recyclable material into something new. Bradley collects campus waste items in her big green TerraCycle Wagon.

“Basically, TerraCycle turns things like old shampoo bottles into cleaner bottles or Capri Sun pouches into backpacks or other bags,” said Bradley. “My involvement on campus is to be the person who goes around collecting the items from people (mostly dorms and academic buildings), count each individual item, record the date in a spreadsheet, package up the materials, weigh them to make sure they meet shipping requirements and ship them to TerraCycle.” The company then pays money for the recyclable material it receives.

Stephanie Bradley helping to plant Millersville's "Ville-age Rain Garden in the spring of this year.
Stephanie Bradley helping to plant Millersville’s “Ville-age Rain Garden in the spring of this year.

“She has personally counted over 100,000 items by hand, boxed them up and shipped them out to TerraCycle’s headquarters. Millersville University is recognized as a leading collection site nationwide, and Stephanie’s hard work and dedication have been instrumental in the process,” said Dr. Nadine Garner, founder and director of the Center for Sustainability and chair of the Sustainability Committee. Garner nominated Bradley for the award.

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Garner also enlists Bradley’s help for a program at Millersville called “It Takes a ‘Ville-age to Save a Child,” which incorporates not only working with the TerraCycle company but with an organization called Smile Train, an international charity that helps provide surgery to children with cleft lip and palate. The proceeds Millersville earns from waste sent to TerraCycle is then donated to Smile Train to give a child the surgery that could save a life.

“Stephanie has worked to make the TerraCycle/SmileTrain program a bigger initiative on Millersville University’s campus. She makes it her passion and her practice to actively inform people everywhere she goes about TerraCycle and the benefits it has on the environment, as well as on the children through the Smile Train,” said Garner, who created the “It Takes a ‘Ville-age to Save a Child” program at Millersville.

Bradley is also the campus representative for another MU initiative she’s hoping will become a University-wide tradition. It’s called the Project Green Challenge (PGC) and is a program in which schools compete for the chance to win the title of Green University. It takes place during the entire month of October, with daily green challenges for participants posted on the Project Green Challenge website. Completed challenges then earn points that are tallied. The schools with the most points earned through meeting green challenges get to have their campus rep attend a final challenge in San Francisco, Calif.

“PGC is a fun and interactive way to make people more conscious about the products they use in their day to day lives, said Bradley. “These products can range from personal care items, food and beverage containers, clothing and the list goes on.”

Bradley would like to get the program underway at Millersville in Oct. 2015, but she needs help. “I am the sole representative for the initiative, which makes it hard to reach out to people,” she said. “My role is to motivate the student body and get them to be more conscious of the impact they have on our carbon footprint and the environment in general.” She wants to see the PGC initiative in full swing next year and is asking for student participation.

“The reward of getting involved in PGC is just knowing that you made a difference, that your small effort helped benefit the environment, even if you don’t believe that you made an impact. The smallest bit helps, even if that means that instead of throwing out bottles, cans or paper you put them in the correct recycling bin,” added Bradley.

For more information about Project Green Challenge at MU, please visit the website http://millersville.edu/ccerp/CSE/project-…n-challenge.php.

If you would like to help make Project Green Challenge at MU happen in 2015, please contact Stephanie Bradley at srbradle@millersville.edu.