Correction: a previous version of this article attributed Elon's plans to its Sustainability Master Plan instead of the Waste Reduction Master Plan. Elon News Network regrets this error.

Elon has plans to divert 50% of its waste by 2030. Currently, the university is diverting 25%. Kendra Harrison, waste reduction and recycling manager, said it will take a lot of work for Elon to reach 50%. 

“I keep coming back to outreach, because we have to educate a lot,” Harrison said. 

Sustainability has been integrated into Residence Life’s training, according to Elon’s website on sustainability.  Sustainability has spread to other areas of campus in other ways, outside of just the office of sustainability, senior Lauren Hill, volunteer coordinator for the Office of Sustainability, said. But, students are not always aware of the waste they are generating and other ways Elon maintains sustainability, Hill said. 

“A big part of contamination and the waste that's generated on this campus definitely is from what students so I think there's a bit more awareness and responsibility that needs to be taken because again, you just throw your stuff in a bin and then someone comes and picks it up, you never have to think about it again,” Hill said.

Another issue is that Harrison sees a lot of myths about Elon sustainability. Recycling can’t always be sorted correctly, leaving people to sometimes assume recycling is never happening, Harrison said. 

“People see that and they're like, ‘Oh, we don't recycle,’” Harrison said. “It's kind of hard to be like, ‘No, we do, but if it's super contaminated, we can't recycle it.’ We don't have someone rinsing everything out. We don't have the means for that.” 

Hill said she feels in order for Elon to continue its sustainability efforts, it needs to invest more money into it.

“When you talk about sustainability, it's the three P’s: people, planet, prosperity and ultimately, for something to be sustainable there has to be that prosperity aspect, it has to be financially sustainable,” Hill said. 

While Hill feels there is more work to be done to engage students across campus in sustainability efforts, that work starts with having conversations about things people at Elon tend to ignore, she said. 

“The conversations that I'm having are with people who are willing to not only talk about uncomfortable things, but talk about what is possible, what things could look like and I think that that hope is a really impactful thing, especially when things are so doom and gloom,” Hill said.