Tag: dustin fox

The green standard: Recycling at JSU below state goal

Dustin FoxSpecial to the Chanticleer

Recycling is one of the most popular ways for people to feel they are having a positive impact on the environment. Many cities offer curbside pickup of plastics, papers and other materials that can be processed and reused by recycling plants.

The Alabama Department of Environmental Management set forth a goal for the state to recycle 25% of its waste. In 2016, only 8.28% was recycled. Despite initiatives geared towards increasing that percentage, many places have seen little improvement.

Cocky does his part by recycling a plastic water bottle in Bibb Graves Hall in 2016 (photo by Jacksonville State University).

In February 2016, Jacksonville State University began its own recycling program, which began with the installment of six recycling bins on campus.

The program was funded by a grant provided by the Alabama Department of Environmental Management through the Calhoun County Extension Office. The nearly $40,000 grant went to fund the six bins – which themselves are made from recycled milk cartons – and a utility trailer used to store collected recyclables. The trailer is then transported once or twice a month to the Calhoun County Recycling Center, depending on how quickly it fills up.

Once it is dropped off, the material collected on JSU’s campus is added to the nearly 362 tons of recyclables collected throughout the county each year. 362 tons is a massive amount, and saving that much from winding up in landfills has significant benefits.

However, when compared to the 102,500 tons of trash that is still tossed in a landfill in the county, the amount of recycling shows signs of needed improvement.

Calhoun County offers curbside recycling pickup alongside trash services, which gives residents the opportunity to put less of their waste in landfills. On JSU’s campus, which is populated by more than 8,500 students, recycling is limited to only six bins.

Those bins, which are located in the Theron Montgomery Building, Houston Cole Library, Bibb Graves, Martin, Brewer and Meehan Halls are only tiny blips on a map that covers 318 acres with 53 buildings, many of which are multi-story and have many entrances.

In the library, the recycling bin sits next to a trash can in Jazzman’s Cafe on the first floor. For students coming into the library from the rear parking lot, the green bin situated next to the nondescript trash can just inside the entrance is hard to miss. But for those who enter the library through the two entrances on the front, the bin goes unnoticed. Additionally, the library consists of 12 floors. For a student who finishes a drink in a plastic bottle anywhere in the library besides the café on the first floor, recycling that bottle would require a conscious choice to take it all the way to the bin, passing numerous trash cans on each floor.

Even for students passionate about recycling, making a special trip to a central location in a building is sometimes impractical. Abbie Patterson, who studies political science at JSU, said that she sometimes tosses a bottle in the trash between classes on the upper floors of Brewer Hall because there is not enough time to take it all the way to the first-floor lobby, where the bin is located.

Patterson does this despite considering herself very pro-recycling. When asked how important recycling is, she replied, “On a scale of one to 10? 10.”

While in Brewer hall twice a week, Patterson uses the recycling bin as much as possible, depositing empty bottles on her way to class and index cards she has used to study for a test on the way out. She makes it a point to go further than that, though. Patterson lives in an apartment complex on campus that does not offer recycling pick-up, so she separates her recyclables into a box that she brings to drop off in the on-campus bins once or twice a month. She said she does not think many students would go through that much trouble to recycle waste.

Courtney Lawrence, a social work student at the university, said she actively recycles at her off-campus home in Jacksonville because she has curbside pickup. It’s important to take care of the earth and keep as much waste out of landfills as possible, she said, but added that convenience is a big factor in recycling.

“Unfortunately, without the convenience of city pickup, I don’t believe I would use the bins [on campus] often,” Lawrence said.

Prior to 2016, students on campus had virtually no access to recycling. The installation of the six bins on campus were a starting point, though. The plan for JSU began through the Calhoun County Extension Office and the E.A.R.T.H. Club on campus. The bins were placed around campus and monitored for the first year.

The JSU E.A.R.T.H. Club kicked off the recycling program in 2016 by giving out free T-shirts and Frisbees to students who signed their recycling pledge in the TMB lobby (photo by Dylan Kyser/Facebook).

“The data for the first year was reported to the Department of Environmental Management, but nothing has been recorded since then,” said Heather Mulvehill, an agent at the Calhoun County Extension Office.

That data was collected by the Capital Planning and Facilities department on campus. After being reported to the Extension Office and ADEM for the first year, the program became a routine part of custodial services at JSU.

Keisha Gresham at the Calhoun County Recycling Center said the recycling brought to the center from the university is not weighed, but she estimates that each trailer weighs seven or eight tons. Most of that weight comes from paper products, which she said greatly outweighs plastics.

The Calhoun County Extension Office no longer has the data collected during the pilot year of the program, which included records of how frequently the bins on campus were filled and how involved the student body was with the program.

The Capital Planning and Facilities department did not respond to a request for the information from the pilot year. Still, the recycling bins on campus are emptied on a regular basis, and Gresham says the Recycling Center picks up the collection trailer once or twice a month.

The recycling bin in Meehan Hall is the only bin in a residence hall (photo by Katie Cline/The Chanticleer).

The small number of available recycling bins and frequency of pickup do indicate, however, that the program at JSU does not meet the state recycling goal of 25%. With 48 other buildings and countless other places to install recycling bins, though, JSU has the potential to make recycling easier for students and faculty.

“I believe that students would be more aware of recycling and more likely to use the bins if they are convenient,” Lawrence said.

Patterson echoed that sentiment, saying more students, including herself, would recycle more if bins were installed in more buildings and on multiple floors.

After all, the issue of recycling weighs heavy on a list of importance for some students at JSU and the ADEM. For now, though, the weight of what’s actually recycled on campus doesn’t seem to match that scale.

*Dustin Fox graduated from Jacksonville State University in December 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in communications.*

JSU club has “gotta’ collect ’em all”

newsBy Dustin Fox, Staff Writer

Jacksonville State University students interested in collectible items are invited to attend meetings of the newly-expanded JSU-Calhoun County Stamp, Coin and Collectibles Club. The club provides a space for the collectors to share with one another and get new information on many aspects of collecting.

The club was originally founded by a JSU student in the 1970s as the Stamp Club, but to include more people interested in the collecting hobby, the group has expanded to include a wide range of small items like coins, toy trains, military patches, soda bottles, postcards, arrow heads and more.

Dr. George Lauderbaugh of the JSU History Department has been involved with the club since his arrival at JSU in 2000. Currently, he serves as the club’s president, and he says that he says he has seen many interesting collectibles at club meetings.

“In the past we have had some rare stamps exhibited, including Confederate stamps,” said Lauderbaugh. “I presented stamps and coins of the 1972 Munich Olympic Games at the last meeting.”

Lauderbaugh says a member of the club who avidly collects postcards has shown off a wide variety of unusual topics at club meetings.

The JSU-Calhoun County Stamp, Coin and Collectibles Club has a number of alumni and professors and is welcoming to current JSU students. Lauderbaugh says the club provides an opportunity for students to interact with their members in a friendly atmosphere. That friendly atmosphere is, in his opinion, one of the best aspects of the club.

“It is fun to collect and most people have the bug at some point in their life. It is just more fun when you share your collection with others,” Lauderbaugh said.

Meeting on the second Tuesday of each month, the Stamp, Coin and Collectibles Club is open to members and guests. At most meetings, an informative program is featured and a swap and sale will be held in April for anyone interested in selling or trading collectibles.

The club’s next meeting is February 14, 2017 and will be held in Brewer Hall Room 123 at 7:00 p.m..

Homecoming 2016: Harvest Fest kicks off ‘The Greatest Show on Turf’

By Dustin Fox

Staff Writer

This year’s Homecoming theme is a circus theme entitled “The Greatest Show on Turf.” (photo by Dustin Fox/The Chanticleer)

Homecoming is one of the most exciting weeks on a college campus. This year’s
homecoming game will pit JSU against Eastern Illinois
University in “The Greatest Show on Turf.” But the week leading up to the game is filled with just as much excitement. From homecoming elections to fall festivals, homecoming week has something for everyone.

VPOA Dylan Jones paints a child’s face at the Harvest Fest (photo by Casey Payne)

On the evening of Tuesday, October 25, the JSU quad was filled with skeletons, witches and all
sorts of Halloween characters during the university’s Harvest Fest. Children from the Jacksonville community, along with students, had a chance to interact with campus organizations, play games to win candy and prizes and show off their creative costumes.

The annual event is organized by the SGA and has become something that families in Jacksonville look forward to each year. Booths are set up by campus organizations and include activities like corn hole, bowling and face painting for the children and their parents to enjoy. Each

The Harvest Fest is sponsored annually by the SGA. Pictured from L to R are the 2016-2017 SGA Executive Officers: Dylan Jones (Vice President of Organizational Affairs), Amy Sims (Chief Justice), Casey Payne (Director of Publicity), Hayden Clay (Vice President of the Student Senate), Jesslan Sharp (President) and Ranger Rumrill (Vice President of Student Activities) (photo courtesy of Casey Payne)

booth features a different Halloween theme, and the event gives the organizations and students of JSU a chance to interact with the community in a fun way.


Casey Payne, who serves as the SGA’s Director of Publicity, says the event is one of her favorites.

“I love this event so much because it gives us the opportunity to see the community and the student body mingling and fellowshipping right on our campus,” she said.

Payne says that JSU announces the festival on social media and the digital board in front of the TMB and at Walmart. In the four years that the festival has been hosted, the community of Jacksonville has grown to love it and is usually looking for it during homecoming week each fall.

JSU students wait for players of their oversized tic-tac-toe game at the Harvest Fest Tuesday evening. (photo by Casey Payne)

While the event is aimed at children, college students are encouraged to participate in the event. This year, the Harvest Fest was held shortly after the polls closed for homecoming king and queen voting and gave students another way to socialize and have fun during the busy week leading up to Saturday’s homecoming football game.

Kacee Mashburn, a student at the university, came out to play some of the games and spend time with her friends at the festival for the first time this year.

“I always love the harvest festival in my hometown, so I wanted to come see how JSU’s festival was,” she said.

Dr. Stephen Tsikalas and members of the Secular Student Alliance play a game with a child at their “Gravity Falls” themed booth





This year, there were plenty of activities and games. 30 campus organizations registered to set up booths, and a stage was built for a performance by the members of Calhoun County Academy of Dance. The crowd of children and families kept each of the booths busy as they walked around and took advantage of all the fun things to do. The familial aspect is Payne’s favorite part.

“You can really see all of the students and the community come together as one big family and it’s so nice,” Payne said.





SGA Officers goof off at the Harvest Fest. (photo courtesy of Casey Payne)


30 campus organizations came out to entertain children of all ages at the 2016 Harvest Fest. (photo by Dustin Fox/The Chanticleer)

Jsu inaugurates John Beehler as president

Jacksonville State University inaugurated its 12th president Friday in the Pete Mathews Coliseum, officially recognizing John Beehler and the beginning of his tenure as the university president.

“I pledge to give my heart and soul to Jacksonville State University as together we pursue our bright future and bring JSU and our region of Northeastern Alabama to even greater levels of excellence,” Beehler said to the crowded arena of students, staff and alumni. “I will not let you down.”

He acknowledged his family, friends and mentors who helped get him to where he is today. Beehler thanked many of the professionals he has worked with throughout his career, including Dean Doyle Williams, who he credits for teaching him about servant leadership.

“‘The most important thing in life is serving others and having a positive impact on the organizations and people you serve.  When all is said and done at the end of life, it is only this impact that really counts in evaluating your life,’” Beehler said, quoting Williams.

Beehler has led the university as president since July 1, after past President William Meehan’s retirement. Beehler spoke of what he has learned during his first nine months, citing JSU’s culture, traditions, history, opportunities and challenges, as well as the abundant resources in the Northeast Alabama region.

The focus of his speech was the “TIES” that bind us together at JSU.

“We must be transformative. We must be innovative. We must be engaged for success,” he said. Beehler said that transforming the students at JSU into educated, ethical global citizens can help them transform the region intellectually, culturally, and economically. He said the university must also transform itself to focus on its continuous improvement, starting with individual employees.

Innovation is crucial for student success in the rapidly changing world of higher education, according to Beehler.

“We must find new ways to reach the current generation of students using technology to the fullest… and linking coursework to real practical workplace experiences,” he said.

Engagement requires participation from everyone involved with the university and will benefit student success greatly, Beehler explained. He referred to a Gallup Purdue survey that says strong engagement with faculty, staff, alumni, and other students leads to “great lives and great jobs.”

Beehler closed the inaugural ceremony by reinstating his commitment to the university.

“It’s not all about me, it’s not all about you, it’s about all of us – the Jacksonville State University Gamecock family,” he said.

Following the investiture, a reception was held in Meehan Towers to allow guests to meet the President Beehler, and the afternoon was concluded with open house tours of the newly-renovated president’s house, which is decorated as a “classic” southern home.

Before coming to JSU, Beehler graduated from Pennsylvania State University and earned an MBA in finance; he earned a Ph.D. in accounting and taxation from Indiana University. He has served in higher education for more than 30 years. His wife, Dr. Pamela Beehler, holds a Ph.D. in human performance and has over 30 years of experience in teaching and research.

Dustin Fox
Staff Writer

Tensions build as National Conventions draw closer

The presidential campaign is intensifying as candidates prepare for the Republican National Convention, beginning July 18, and the Democratic Convention, which will commence July 25.

Only three Republican candidates — Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. John Kasich — remain since Florida Sen. Marco Rubio suspended his campaign March 15 after a loss in his home state.

Wisconsin held a GOP Town Hall Tuesday in anticipation of the state’s primary election April 5. Many of the questions asked, however, seemed to focus on the recent Twitter feud between Trump and Cruz.

Last week, the two candidates took to Twitter after an ad endorsing Cruz surfaced with a photo of Trump’s wife. The Republican frontrunner retaliated by saying he would “spill the beans” on Cruz’s wife, and posted an unflattering photo of her.

Cruz denied being involved with the original ad and said that politicians should respect one another enough to not attack their families. He also claimed a National Enquirer article that said he had been unfaithful to his wife was sourced by one of Donald Trump’s political advisors.

Kasich seems to want to avoid all the drama. During Tuesday’s Town Hall, he said, “I can say all kinds of things to get people stirred up, but leaders don’t do that.”

All three major candidates said Tuesday that they were unsure if they would be able to endorse the Republican candidate, regardless of who it is.

Meanwhile, after Sen. Bernie Sanders won five of the six primaries and caucuses held last week, Hillary Clinton’s campaign is feeling the pressure. However, after Sanders called for a debate in New York prior to the state’s April 19 election, Joel Benenson, an aide for Clinton’s campaign, said the debate would not happen unless Sanders changed his tone.

Benenson said that Sanders said at the beginning of the election season that he would never run negative advertisements, but has been airing ads aimed against Clinton.

“Let’s see if he goes back to the kind of tone he said he was going to set early on. If he does that, then we’ll talk about debates,” Benenson said.

Sanders’ campaign has seen new momentum after winning five states last week. An incident at a Portland rally kept Sanders in the spotlight after his victory.

A small bird landed on his podium Saturday, interrupting his speech and earning a standing ovation from the crowd. Sanders reacted on stage by saying the bird was a dove in disguise, and called for world peace. The incident led to the trending hashtag #BirdieSanders.

Hillary Clinton took to Wisconsin Tuesday, speaking on gun violence to rally support before the primary election next week. She likened gun violence to a disease and said that Americans must come together to tackle the issue.

While Sanders held rallies with crowds of thousands, Clinton hopes her intimate conversations with the people of Wisconsin will win her the state.

Dustin Fox
Staff Reporter