Sustainable Community Development Initiative

All Spotlights » Graduate Student and Team Produce Sustainable Advocacy Video

As anyone working to bring change knows, inspiring the public is often the most important part. Derek Plumb, a graduate student at Grand Valley State University, understands this concept from both sides. Inspired, himself, by the film The Story of Stuff, Plumb and the Housing Staff Sustainability Group that he oversees created a short video titled Reduce – Reuse – Recycle at GVSU to inspire change on our campus.


In addition to Plumb, Resident Assistants Douwe Driehuis, Joel Mounts, Michelle Allmayer, Lisa Dickinson brainstormed the idea, focusing on the specific issues of reducing, reusing, and recycling, but also on the interconnectivity of people and the products they use. Plumb summed up the main purpose of their creation stating, “The aim is the core aim of all of sustainability; to get people to live more consciously.”  


The film executes this aim through statistics on trash, recycling, and compost, as well as by mentioning specific events like the SEC Dumpster Dive. In the film’s conclusion, the narrator points out simple steps Grand Valley students can take to make the campus more sustainable.


In addition to prompting individual actions, Plumb also hopes to see changes made within facility practices: “Ideally, I think it would perfect if next to every trash bin, there was a recycling bin next to it.” This ideal is rooted in Plumb’s belief that people want to do the right thing and recycle, but often the “wrong thing” is far more convenient.  We can definitely achieve maximum recycling rates,” states Plumb, “if the students begin to raise their voices about getting more recycling bins around campus.” This can be as simple as sharing this video or others like it with friends on Facebook and Twitter, or perhaps by creating your own campaign to carry the message forward. The Reduce – Reuse – Recycle at GVSU video can be found on YouTube, the SCDI Facebook page, and the SCDI Website.


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