I've been traveling this fall to speak at colleges where Garbology is this year's campus read or part of the freshmen "First Year Experience," and is being read in English, geography, anthropology, ecology, psychology, sociology, philosophy and sustainability classes. What an inspiration to find my book used as a catalyst for discussions about waste, recycling, and the economic and environmental opportunities inside an empty trash can.
Here are five cool things schools are doing to craft successful campus reads, bringing Garbology alive for students and engaging them in conversations about waste:
1. Sponsor a trash art contest like the University of New Mexico.
2. Challenge Students to "Change One Thing" like Washington State University.
3. Have students carry all their trash for a week on their backs, then weigh in for the winner. Marymount California University made this a class project. The school also put the kibosh on disposable plastic water bottles and foam takeout containers as part of a campus-wide sustainability push.
4. Create cool lending library displays — another great UNM idea.
5. Have students do a Dumpster Dive trash audit. Portland State University students were horrified by the legion of unrecycled coffee cups behind the science building.
Penguin Books has published an amazing Garbology Teachers Guide and resource compendium for classroom use and campus reads.