Dorm problems

This letter is in response to Megan Knowles’ article “Dorms (sic) to receive bins for recycling” the Wednesday, Feb. 26 edition of The Northern Star.

First, the word “Dorm” in the headline is disturbing. A letter sent to the editor-in-chief of the Star asked that NIU’s residence halls be referred to properly. Our students do not live in “Dorms.”

But our distress at the “D” word lessened considerably after reading the “facts” in Ms. Knowles’ article. Obviously, she is a Student Association reporter as she took SA Recycling Director Rachel Vellenga’s word as gospel.

Some things we would like to correct:

PROBLEM – Ms. Vellenga’s statements certainly made it appear that the program developed for the halls was originated by the Student Association and that the Residence Hall Association (RHA) and University Administration simply were interfering in their master plan.

CORRECT – A young man from Circle K, Chris Newberry, approached RHA with an idea for a more comprehensive recycling plan for the residence halls. Since that time RHA and Associate Vice President for Business and Operations Pat Hewitt have worked out the methods to make the plan a reality. Ms. Vellenga was asked for her advice due to her better knowledge of the recycling process.

PROBLEM – The implication that Stevenson South and Neptune are not as good as Douglas and Lincoln for testing the recycling program.

CORRECT – The point of a “Pilot Program” is to test the idea and make any corrections needed. Lincoln and Douglas are similar in population composition. A proper test covers the entire spectrum of the residence hall population, as STS and Neptune certainly represent. The implication by Ms. Vellenga that the two halls will not participate in the program is incredibly unfair to the students that reside there.

PROBLEM – From Ms. Knowles’ article, “She (Vellenga) said the RHA will hopefully get volunteers from each floor to be responsible for bringing the materials to the curbside pickup.”

CORRECT – A promise was made by RHA President Dan Chamberlain to make a strong effort to get floor members involved with the program. If the floor residents take their materials to the curbside for SA, fine. If they choose to take their recyclables elsewhere for floor funds, they are more than welcome to do so. The point of the entire idea is to get people in the residence halls to recycle on a consistent basis. If that happens, our primary goal has been accomplished.

What we are attempting to get across with this letter is that perhaps Megan Knowles should check statements made to her with at least one other person before printing them. Particularly in the case of stories about the residence halls, those statements should be confirmed with those closest to the residence hall situation, the Residence Hall Association.

RHA Executive Board