By Michelle Ballman
This story is part of a collection written by Dr. Andrea Tanner's SCHC Journalism 101 course.
Last semester, University of South Carolina Honors students lined up outside the Honors Residence Hall, armed with old T-shirts and ready to save the Earth.
The “Convert the Shirt” event was hosted by Honors Residence Hall’s EcoRep Maggie Gordon, a freshman biochemistry major. As students came with unwanted shirts, Gordon taught them how to recycle them into tote bagsusing only a pair of scissors – a much greener alternative to dumping old clothes down the trash chute.
“It seems like college students have an unnecessary amount of T-shirts, and many of them get thrown away,” says Julia Bagnell, an Honors finance major who attended the event. “This was the perfect opportunity to reuse something that would otherwise go to waste.”
Despite being only a first-semester freshman, Gordon has already received leadership training and attended networking events through her role as Honors EcoRep. Through these opportunities, she’s learned what it takes to get people motivated and excited about being environmentally friendly.
“A lot of it is visibility,” Gordon says. “If you have somebody who’s out there in the community promoting being sustainable, it gets people thinking about it, and these small changes will add up to a bigger thing.”
Gordon explains that she’s always been passionate about the environment and that the EcoRep position offered by the school gives her the opportunity to make real change.
In addition to hosting special events that get other Honors students to go green, Gordon ensures that the Honors dorm is being as sustainable as it can. She informs the maintenance crew about leaky faucets, makes sure lights are turned off in unused common rooms and checks up on water bottle fillers.
Gordon is already working on the plans for next semester’s events, but, in the meantime, urges everyone to do their part in reducing waste.
Even as the leaves fall and seasons change, together we can help the University of South Carolina stay green.