Contributing Writer: Tori Mann
Early this November, representatives from administration, the Maintenance department, Dordt Dining, the Business department, the Sustainability Committee and the student body met to discuss how all of Dordt could work together to make Dordt’s campus more sustainable.
This meeting was just one step in the process of creating this year’s annual December Service Project at Dordt. The end-product of the process came after months of brainstorming, emailing, making proposals and sorting through trash in the middle of the night by Maintenance employees and students concerned about Dordt’s sustainability.
The service project for this December, announced at chapel on the last day of November, is focused on sustainability as a way to obey the Biblical command to steward the earth. The project involves two challenges from the Sustainability Committee.
The first challenge asked administration, who accepted the initiative, to purchase better recycling bins, to fund new work-study positions to facilitate recycling and to create a standing committee aimed at reducing Dordt’s waste in the future, according to the email from the Sustainability Committee to Dordt’s student body.
The second challenge calls the students to action: reduce the amount of recyclable material thrown in the trash by 50 percent and donate money to One Body One Hope Liberia. Donations will cover the cost of solar panels that will be installed on the school in Liberia by Dordt’s AMOR (A Mission OutReach) team in January. The solar panels would save the school about $3,000 a year.
The project kicked off on Dec. 1, although the new recycling bins are yet to be ordered. There are two posters hanging by the Grille that display various examples of what items can and cannot be recycled. A third poster by the Grille shows the progress of how much of the $10,000 goal has been raised. The goal for these posters is to remind people to participate in the service project and to educate them on how to recycle.
Although it requires acts of service—recycling and donating—there are benefits to the project. Junior Renee Ewald, chair of the Sustainability Committee, said, “This project will start Dordt becoming more sustainable, fund a school in Liberia to do the same and save money in the long run.”
Ewald hopes this project will start conversations among students and provoke them to consider environmentally friendly habits.
While there are financial and environmental reasons to complete the project, the larger context of this effort derives from a desire to fulfill a Biblical mandate found in Micah 6:8, among other passages: “And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly, to love mercy, and to humbly walk with your God.”
Students like junior Raquelle Mouw believe the project is obedient to the Bible. “God always says that taking care of people in need all over the world is the most important thing. This project definitely fulfills that.”
Junior Logan Bosma is optimistic about how the project can make an impact beyond Dordt. “People don’t realize how a small community can affect even bigger communities. What students do at Dordt they can take home and spread to the people there.”