Mississippi Recycling Coalition Recognizes UM Students for Waste Reduction Leadership

By Lindsey Abernathy

Four University of Mississippi students were selected to receive scholarships from the Mississippi Recycling Coalition in January based on leadership experience related to recycling and waste reduction, including composting.

The students who received the scholarships were: civil engineering major Jay Rao; psychology major Taylor Robertson; biology major Megan Stubbs; and communication sciences and disorders major Alexis Zosel.

Notable work by the selected students includes management of the Green Grove Gameday Recycling Program and UM Compost Program, the development of an in-depth digital Ole Miss Recycling Guide and other recycling and composting resources, and work through the Associated Student Body to support and promote recycling practices on campus.

The UM students were selected from an applicant pool of 45 students from eight Mississippi colleges and universities. UM had the highest number of scholarship recipients this year.

Learn more about the recipients below:

Taylor Christine Robertson

Taylor has served as an intern in the Office of Sustainability since November 2016. Currently, Taylor is the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment and Rating System (STARS) intern and Outreach and Communications intern with the Office of Sustainability. In Fall 2018, she acted as a coordinator for the Green Grove Gameday Recycling Program. In this role, Taylor organized volunteers, developed educational materials, led volunteers in recycling sorting organized a stadium recycling event. She also presented to several groups on sustainability, waste reduction and recycling. In Spring 2018, Taylor acted as the Active Transportation intern and developed a bike safety workshop on campus.  She has also been a leader with the UM Compost Program since November 2016. One of her favorite recent projects was developing and teaching a composting workshop for Carrot Camp (put on by Good Food for Oxford Schools).

Alexis Zosel

Alexis Zosel is a senior Communication Sciences & Disorders major with minors in Spanish and psychology at the University of Mississippi. She is from Tupelo, Mississippi. Alexis has worked with the university’s Office of Sustainability as an intern since fall 2017. Her roles have included Compost/ Food Day Intern, Recycling and Waste Reduction Intern, and Compost Program Manager. Notably, she organized and facilitated a Compost Sift-a-Thon volunteer event last semester. She has assisted with various sustainable initiatives, including Green Fund proposals, Food Day events, tabling events, collecting compost and recycling data, Green Week events, and more. She assists in cleaning up the Grove after home football games each fall and has volunteered her time with Green Grove through recycling sorting and stadium recycling. Additionally, she is a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, a peer educator for Rebels Against Sexual Assault, a Global Ambassador, and an English Clusters teacher. She has received a study abroad Honors Fellowship and a Phi Kappa Phi Study Abroad Grant. She is currently conducting research for her Honors thesis on how children and adults perceive non-native speech and presented some of the preliminary findings at the annual Mississippi Speech-Language-Hearing Association Conference in April 2018.

Megan Stubbs

Megan served as the Recycling and Waste Reduction Intern for Fall 2018 for the University of Mississippi Office of Sustainability. She created a comprehensive and informative recycling guide for the Oxford-University area. She researched and compiled useful and appropriate details about how to recycle on and off campus, what and what not to recycle, where to recycle, and how to get involved in recycling and reducing waste. Megan worked to promote sustainability initiatives on campus and recycling ideas/tips through the Office of Sustainability’s Instagram page. Megan is also in the University of Mississippi Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College and is currently working on her senior capstone and thesis by researching Southern pine beetle population genetics.

Jay Rao

Jay serves as Director of Sustainability for the Associated Student Body at Ole Miss. He is working with his team to increase recycling bins on campus and to implement more measures to reduce waste at the university. He works part-time as an engineering aid at the National Sedimentation Lab of the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Oxford. He is an active member in the Ole Miss chapter of American Society of Civil Engineers and has a weekly radio show on Rebel Radio 92.1 FM. He graduates in May 2019 and will be pursuing an environmental engineering job in wastewater treatment or stormwater management.

To learn more about the Mississippi Recycling Coalition, click here.

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