The Crimson White

A new, environmentally friendly Tide rolls in

The Greener Tide project aims to provide an alternative to tossing recyclables in the trash during home games. CW | Layton Dudley

Heather Buchanan

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After finishing a refreshing beverage on the Quad on game days, fans face the dilemma of how to dispose the can or bottle.

For most fans the only option, or the most convenient option, is to toss it in one of the many garbage cans sprinkled across the Quad. One group of University of Alabama students wants to offer an alternative.

Greener Tide, a project funded by the Daniel Community Scholars program, is a group of volunteers on the Quad that delivers information on recycling and provides recycling bins for plastic and aluminum every home football game. Blackburn Institute students planned this project and competed for funding early this year. Shuwen Yue, a senior majoring in chemical engineering, said the project was finally implemented this fall after months of planning.

“Before the Daniel Scholar Competition started, the planning started probably in November [2014], maybe October, and all the way up to January when we had a presentation and competed with the other teams,” Yue said. “We kept on planning after we won throughout the spring semester as well.”

Yue said her group wanted to do a test run for Greener Tide on A-Day in April, but they canceled the pilot program due to the threat of rain.

In planning the Greener Tide project, the students coordinated with on-campus partners to develop their strategy.

“We met with UA Recycling and asked how we could help,” said John Pounders, a first year graduate student in rural public health and medicine who helped develop the project. “After learning of their need for more student promotion and manpower on game day, we included the ideas in our pitch.”

The potential for recycling on the Quad during a home Alabama football game – and the lack of accessibility to recycling during that time – is another reason the group specifically targeted game day recycling, Yue said.

“The amount of waste that’s produced during a regular game day is insane,” Yue said.

Danielle Cassady, a junior majoring in political science and public relations, said although the group’s impact feels small, she still thinks their efforts are important.

“A group like Greener Tide probably won’t ever be able to save all the recycling from the trash, and we probably won’t convince everyone that it’s important,” Cassady said. “But for us, knowing that we’re doing what we can to protect the environment and be responsible on game day is important.”

Mac Griswold, director of the Blackburn institute, said all first-year Blackburn students and any returning or alumni students can apply for funding through the Daniel Community Scholars program. Examples of other projects funded through the program include the West End Health Project and a bilingual Head Start program.

“The Daniel Community Scholars program is funded through an endowment provided by the Daniel Foundation of Alabama,” Griswold said. “This endowment is intended to support the community-based projects of students from the Blackburn Institute throughout the state.”

According to the group’s website, the Blackburn Institute “provides the fellows [students in the program] opportunities to explore issues and identify strategic actions that will improve the quality of life for our state and nation.”

Griswold said programs like the Daniel Community Scholars allow Blackburn students to apply the Institute’s ideals to real-life issues they think are important.

“This program trains students in how to take action on their values, to build a project proposal and budget, to build coalitions, to work with community partners, and to implement and manage a project, as well as many other skills,” Griswold said.

Yue said the group is always looking for volunteers for pre- and post-game day work and is open to anyone in the Tuscaloosa community.

“We know not everyone wants to spend their game day collecting plastic and aluminum, but it’s actually fun and feels good to be doing your part,” Cassady said.

To get involved with the Greener Tide project, contact Shuwen Yue, syue1@crimson.ua.edu, or John Pounders, jdpounders@crimson.ua.edu. 

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A new, environmentally friendly Tide rolls in