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Going Solid Green: Community comes together to promote a clean, sustainable Clemson

The week after Clemson homecoming can be a dismal one for the Campus. 

Gone are the giant, multi-chromatic floats from the Bowman field. Gone are the hoards of Clemson fans—young and old—and the crowds of orange have dispersed into a 
dwindling few students walking to class. All that is left is an empty bowman field, and a ghost of the yearly homecoming fiasco: litter. 

Every year Clemson fans come and go through the campus, leaving behind empty beer bottles, cans, cigarettes, cardboard. And every year those giant multi-chromic floats leave behind traces of multi-chromic tissue papers. 

It’s Gary Gaulin, the chairman of the Solid Green Committee, who makes sure that the campus returns back to the way that “these hoards of visitors found it.” Every year after homecoming, Gaulin and his coworkers put together a voluntary campaign for students, faculty, and staff to go out of their way to assist with picking up the post-homecoming debris. 

He thought of the Solid Green campaign 11 years ago, when he noticed the post-game day trash tumbling around campus. 

“I was like hey, we can’t be credible to the public, saying we’re a sustainable 
university if we have litter everywhere. So I got a little fire building under myself,” said Gaulin, “and ending up putting a resolution forward to the committee.”

Gaulin said it was “like the stars aligned” when his resolution passed to the president. A student around the same time had complained the amount of cigarette butts she was finding around campus. After a blessing from the administration, students and faculty initiated the “Solid Green” movement to initiate sustainability measures on campus. 

The day’s schedule ran from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m, and those who volunteered 
their time were given a free Solid Green t-shirt. The event was also dedicated to Townes Gleaton. Gleaton was the assistant director and recycling manager for the residential facilities division of the department of University Housing and Dining. 

He died on Monday

Gaulin said that the committee is attempting to continue Clemson’s sustainability over the next year through initiatives like “Recycling mania” and providing more recycling reciprocals around Clemson. 

Junior Management Major Haley Hanks said she thinks that Clemson is really “leading the way” in sustainability measures with initiatives like Solid Green Day. Hanks is also a Recycling department marketing and social media intern. 

“We are just trying to get students involved.  Some of the projects that we’ve done involves a lot of signage, and an attempt to get more education out there,” said Hanks, “Trying to promote sustainability, particularly recycling on social media, and make sure we get the word out.”

Although the volunteer turn out was relatively slow, Gaulin said he wasn’t disheartened. 

“We want to provide those people who want help keep our campus beautiful with proper systems to do it, and the truth is a lot of students do want to help sustainability,” said Gaulin, “But there is just this energy out there on not doing anything to help the environment. We want to change that.”

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