As Terry Harpold's
young daughter walked through the University of Florida campus, something peculiar caught her
noticed that the trash cans, which are all separately labeled "landfill," "paper" and "plastic," contained items that did not corresponded with the proper label.
saw people throwing plastic bottles into the can for paper and food trash into the can for plastics.
At only 12 years old, she
realized what many university students did not: These actions defeat the purpose of having separate containers.
"[My daughter] said, 'This isn't just wrong, but it makes it more work for the janitors and the people who pick up the trash,'" Harpold
Harpold, an associate professor of English, film and media studies at UF, is part of a trend of professors nationwide who are taking initiatives in their classrooms to get university students thinking about sustainable practices.
One of the policies he
has added to his
Spring syllabi is against disposable, plastic water bottles and beverage containers in the classroom, he
As part of his policy, Harpold, who has been teaching at UF for 15 years, encourages students to purchase electronic editions of assigned texts if available or use copies of print texts that can be returned to circulation.
would distribute all his
course materials via electronic media.
"Enough trees have been sacrificed to university paperwork," the policy states.
However, Harpold is not the first professor at UF to adopt a policy like this.
Barnett was one of the speakers of the Prairie Project, a seminar in which about a dozen UF
faculty members participated in workshops on how to insert sustainability into the curriculum, Harpold
"It was Cynthia that caused a little light bulb in my head to go off, and I said this is what I have to do, and it's something that I will do for the rest of my classes," Harpold
In addition to including a policy in his
has developed other ways to incorporate sustainability studies into his
created a new course in which students read fiction shaped by climate change and its consequences for the future, he
will begin teaching the course in Spring 2016, and students will have the opportunity to receive a humanities general education credit for it.
The university's sustainability studies major and minor directors have also included the course under their core requirements, he
"I'm not teaching the class to get up on the podium and preach to the audience," he