BY AMANDA SOTELO
Thanks to the help of the Texas State Technical College community, the TSTC Student Government Association was able to bring home the win with more than 7,600 pounds of recycled products collected for the Keep Harlingen Beautiful Recycling Contest.
SGA was recently presented with a $500 check to use toward other recycling and community service efforts for this achievement.
“We are so proud of them,” said TSTC Executive Director of Student Life Adele Clinton. “Our students are creating a culture of recycling around campus. And we’re excited to see how participation has grown and how people are thinking consciously now about what they recycle and throw away.”
For five years now, Keep Harlingen Beautiful has hosted a recycling contest among the public and private schools of Harlingen, Marine Military Academy and TSTC.
From September 1 to March 31, each campus collects newspapers, papers, cans and plastic bottles in hopes of being the campus with the most recycled products at the end of the contest.
“TSTC’s recyclables more than doubled that of the other campuses,” said Keep Harlingen Beautiful Executive Director Melissa Boykin. “TSTC students are an amazing group to work with, they always show up and go above and beyond.”
TSTC currently has 35- and 40-gallon, blue recycle bins across campus, with at least one located in every building, and 135 smaller bins in each dorm room.
SGA President Thalia Gutierrez said she is excited about the group’s recent accomplishment and glad others on campus are starting to see the difference recycling can make.
“We can’t stress the importance of recycling enough at student events and new student orientations,” she said. “I’ll admit I wasn’t into recycling before joining TSTC’s initiative, but now I recycle everywhere, at home, at the beach picking up cans and bottles that litter our community.”
Gutierrez also added, “We encourage students to recycle not only for contests, but to help keep our environment clean and beautify our community.”
TSTC and Keep Harlingen Beautiful have a long-time partnership that has been in place for at least a decade.
With this partnership, TSTC has been able to arrange recycle pickup with Keep Harlingen Beautiful and receive funding for major community service projects such as National Make a Difference Day.
“Whether the project is valued at $11,000 or $27,000, we can count on Keep Harlingen Beautiful,” said Clinton. “This is a huge testament to our students, their work ethic and commitment. They know our students will always come together to make our community a better place. This is truly a win-win partnership.”
Community service projects funded by Keep Harlingen Beautiful include park and neighborhood cleanups and the planting of flowers and shrubs along walking trails, parks and canal banks. Volunteer hours for such projects account for at least $8,000, saving the city money and manpower.
All recycled material Keep Harlingen Beautiful receives from contests or throughout the year from the community is purchased and all of the money Keep Harlingen Beautiful collects goes back into these beautification projects for the city.
“TSTC is one of my favorite campuses to work with,” said Boykin. “Every volunteer from TSTC is great and we’re excited at the growth we have seen in the number of volunteers from the college. We love having them and we look forward to our continued partnership.”