Travis Lewis has found out that it's not easy being green.
The second-year political science student at Brock University is on disciplinary probation and might lose his job as a residence don after posting a YouTube video on April 1 that criticized the school's efforts at promoting recycling.
In the video, Lewis, 19, explains that every building at Brock's Village residence has garbage dispensers in place, but that there's nowhere for students to recycle except a row of bins behind a building.
That means that students don't actually want to walk over and dump their recyclable materials properly. Instead, they just throw plastic containers in the garbage, he said.
Update, April 10: In an April 9 newsletter entry titled "Some truth about Travis — and recycling", Brock University says Lewis' probation is related to "other matters entirely", not his recycling video.
"That is a personnel matter, and not for the University to discuss in public.
"Brock has a social conscience. It encourages freedom of expression. It is one of just seven designated Fair Trade Campuses across Canada. And it successfully promotes green initiatives - including recycling."
In the video, Lewis then steps into a garbage bin and pulls out all the recyclables in fast motion, filling up two bins' worth.
"The garbage wasn't even like one-tenth full and we've got two full recycling bins out of it. I don't know, you tell me, is there an issue?" he asked.
Lewis has been pushing for better recycling access since September, when students in the Village's Court 1 building said they wanted facilities that allowed them to sort their recycling and compost, The St. Catharines Standard reported.
He brought that request to the university's department of residence life but was told organic collection was not possible because it would attract animals.
University officials agreed, however, that better access would make recycling easier on campus, and they obtained 12 pairs of large bins in January for the Village residence.
Two are being used in Lewis's building, but 22 others are not because the university is waiting on locks to secure them, he told the newspaper.
He made the video when he realized that classes were ending for the term, and didn't want the recycling issue to fall by the wayside.
Residence managers, however, were "pissed off" by the video, Lewis told the St. Catharines Standard. He says staff told him in a meeting last week that it amounts to "insubordination."
They said Lewis should have been patient, as staff were "overstressed" and "shortstaffed," according to a recording he took of the meeting.
The student now faces the prospect of losing both his job and his place in residence.
Lewis wrote the following on his Facebook page on April 3:
"The world isn't dangerous (because) of those who do harm but because of those who look at it without doing anything. If I'm going to do anything with my life it will most definitely not be spent by being a bystander.
"If I believe in something I'm gonna be honest about it and as Forrest Gump would put it ... 'That's all I have to say 'bout that.'"
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