Archive for Thursday, October 16, 2008

Students to study Basehor recycling

Kansas City Kansas Community College students Michael Kelling (left), Piper, Mary Katherine Swabb (middle), Basehor, and Cheyenne Pike, Kansas City, Kan., talk with Basehor City Administrator Carl Slaugh about a curbside recycling survey. The students plan to conduct a survey this month in Basehor as a part of their Greening Society Learning Community class.

Kansas City Kansas Community College students Michael Kelling (left), Piper, Mary Katherine Swabb (middle), Basehor, and Cheyenne Pike, Kansas City, Kan., talk with Basehor City Administrator Carl Slaugh about a curbside recycling survey. The students plan to conduct a survey this month in Basehor as a part of their Greening Society Learning Community class.

October 16, 2008

Could a community curbside recycling program be in the future for the city of Basehor?

Thanks to a survey that students at Kansas City Kansas Community College will be conducting this month in the area, the answer could be yes.

Students in the Greening Society Learning Community, which combines environmental science and sociology, at KCKCC will be using the responses from a door-to-door survey they will administer to Basehor residents to find out the interest in participating in a curbside recycling program.

The idea came from one of the students’ first assignments of the year, which instructed them to ask a few of their neighbors what they thought of such a program, then, if their community offered a curbside recycling program, observe how many people utilized it.

“The number of people that had bins out in the front yard (on recycling day) was roughly 15 percent out of all the residents in a three square block, so we estimated that there were only about 15 percent taking advantage of free curbside recycling,” professor Steve Collins said, repeating the observations of one student in a Kansas City, Kan., neighborhood. “We thought that maybe one of the reasons people don’t use it, is lack of awareness.”

A presentation by one of the students, Mary Katherine Swabb, a Basehor resident, sparked the idea to conduct the survey in Basehor.

“Basehor doesn’t have curbside recycling, but we suspected there were a lot more people that wanted and would participate in curbside recycling if they could,” Collins said. “Perhaps knowing the attitude towards curbside recycling would be helpful to policy makers and might help lead the city council into a decision to try to bring that about.”

Swabb said she knew Basehor was a good place to conduct the survey, especially after comparing her presentation to other students’ who lived in other surrounding communities.

“Cheynne (a classmate) did her presentation on the same day and we saw big differences between them,” Swabb said. “Since Basehor doesn’t have a recycling program except for the first Saturday of the month in city park, it obviously isn’t as green as others.”

The five question, straight to the point, door-to-door survey will be administered from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18, and Sunday, Oct. 19, as well as Saturday, Oct. 25, and Sunday, Oct. 26, in four representative areas of Basehor. The questions will explore not only the attitude toward a curbside recycling program, but will help the students figure out if their awareness hypothesis is correct.

Students will not be visiting each home, but would like to gain responses from at least 3 percent of the community.

“Our hope is to have more than 170,” Collins said about the number of people they hope will fill out the survey. “If we have at least 170, we’ll have a really good statistical foundation for the information we’ll come up with.”

City Administrator Carl Slaugh informed the City Council and Police Chief Lloyd Martley of the project a few weeks ago and both parties agreed it would be helpful to the city. Slaugh said the benefit of having students conduct such surveys in cities is something he’s experienced in the past. While city hall does receive calls from time to time from residents asking why there is not a curbside recycling program, hiring a company to conduct a survey would be expensive, but necessary to start offering the program, he said. If the results of the survey are positive, he said, offering a curbside recycling program could be in the future for Basehor.

“I think that’s what we hope will be the outcome,” Slaugh said, referring to a positive outcome. “It takes something like this for the City Council to make a decision to add a feature like this.”

Once the students have compiled their results, the plan is to present their findings to the City Council during one of its regular November meetings. Collins said all aspects of the project from creating the survey and going door-to-door to compiling the data and the final presentation along with the cooperation from the Basehor community, will help solidify one of the class goals of developing a sense of community and building bridges between the college and surrounding communities.

“The city is just a natural laboratory,” Collins said. “Being in the community, the students are going to learn and they get a much better understanding of the real world. The community benefits too because it realizes that the college is trying to be realistic in the experiences it provides to students. It really is beneficial to students and they get a lot out of it.”

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