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Recycling dreams become a new campus reality

Magical blue machines are sweeping across the Missouri Western campus for the new school year. Often referred to as “dream machines”, these big blue devices are sponsored by Pepsi and funded by the Student Government Association. These machines even perform tricks by giving students free prizes. All the machines need to perform are a few bottles or a little bit of aluminum and a few students willing to try them out.

These machines are part of Western’s new recycling program. Each building on campus has at least one machine where students can use their ID cards to recycle bottles and cans to earn recycling points. After a certain amount of points are obtained, students will win prizes like restaurant coupons.

SGA President Alison Norris feels that the new recycling program will be the best effort for Western to finally satisfy the wishes of numerous students and staff for a greener campus. According to Norris, there has never been an official recycling program at Missouri Western until now.

“I’m glad we got the recycling program here; it’s definitely time,” Norris said. “We’ve already had a lot of professors thank SGA for the work. They are ecstatic that we finally have recycling on campus.”

The new recycling program began through the Western organization Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE). They wanted Western to take recycling to the next level, so they asked SGA to help fund the dream machine project. SGA decided to help gear the project by funding both the vehicle that picks up the recycling material and the promotional products that are used to advertise with students.

“When SIFE wanted to do this, SGA really wanted to help,” Norris said. “Before this project, Missouri Western only recycled paper. Now, we recycle plastic and aluminum. The majority of other schools with recycling programs recycle all three.”

Norris also feels that the new recycling program will attract more students to the university.

“It shows that we are willing to go green and provide a positive image on our university,” Norris said.

Former President of SIFE and founder of the dream machine project, Vickie Pike, explained that the idea of bringing the project to Western was developed from lots of planning and consulting with big organizations.

“I applied for a grant from Sam’s Club for their Environmental Challenge [to start the project at Western],” Pike said.

According to Pike, SIFE also presented a recycling presentation that clarifies why Missouri Western needed to jump on the project. The dream machine product was first created from established green companies.

“The idea of the Dream Machine is from three companies: Pepsi, Waste Management and Greenopolis. They created the world’s first consumer rewards-based recycling program of its kind and magnitude,” Pike said.

Junior Auroria Jackson, who resided on campus for the summer, has already begun recycling to earn points before the fall semester begins. Jackson feels that once classes get started, students will definitely use the machines.

“It’s a very good idea and they should put more on campus,” Jackson said. “I think that the new program is nice, but it might not work because the machines get full really fast and it takes awhile for them to be emptied.”

For more information regarding the dream machine project, please visit

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