The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Student starts recycling initiative

By Jamie Buchsbaum

As a California native, SMU junior Max Schauermann has always been accustomed to the major recycling initiative there. During the summer following his sophomore year, Schauermann took all of his family’s cans to a local recycling center one afternoon and noticed a group of fraternity guys taking time out of their Saturday to recycle.

“My first thought was, why doesn’t SMU have a recycling initiative for the Greek community?” said Schauermann.

After serving on a mission trip to Haiti over the previous spring break, Schauermann saw the impact he could make on a community in need. He realized what a meaningful effect it had on him personally and was immediately motivated to look for ways he could give back to his local community upon his return to Dallas.

“It inspired me to make an impact on my community,” Schauermann said. “I just didn’t know how yet.”

He began thinking of ways to connect recycling with helping his local community, and soon realized that a severe recycling deficit existed within Greek Life. Thinking about all of the recyclable waste he could obtain from each fraternity and sorority house, Schauermann eventually came up with the idea of Cans For Kids.

Officially beginning in the fall of 2014, Cans For Kids will be a self-sustaining recycling effort within the Greek community of SMU with all proceeds being donated to the Pediatric Department at UT Southwestern in Dallas.

Schauermann plans to place specially designed recycling receptacles in the fraternity houses as well as at each Boulevard tent during football season, take the collected aluminum cans to a facility that refunds the recycled waste for cash and then donate the money to UT Southwestern Pediatric Department.

The long-term vision of the project is to expand to every Greek house as well as residence halls and continue to raise awareness around campus. Once Schauermann graduates, the SMU Sustainability Committee will take over the project and continue to carry out his efforts.

“In terms of academics, a great college experience, life-long friends… SMU has given me so much already,” said Schauermann. “I just feel like this is an opportunity for me to give back to the community and Dallas as a whole.”

Schauermann, a pre-med student, is currently majoring in real estate finance and plans to attend medical school to become a surgeon. With UT Southwestern at the top of his list of potential medical schools, Schauermann hopes to benefit its medical community while also gaining valuable business skills and a personal level of fulfillment.

“Since I can’t help kids medically yet, this is the most tangible thing I can do right now [to help their lives],” said Schauermann. “I just want to make an impact on them.”

One of the first and most important tasks Schauermann faced was how his project would be funded. He decided to propose his project to Engaged Learning; once it was accepted, Cans For Kids was granted the maximum amount of $2,000 to fund its necessary business operations. The money will go toward the project’s marketing, storage and transportation, purchase of the waste receptacles and other unforeseen costs.

Schauermann will also receive assistance and encouragement from his Engaged Learning mentor, Jomita Fleming.

“What’s different about this project is that we are targeting a group [Greek affiliated students] that has not been focused on in the past,” Fleming said. “It’s been a pleasure working with [Schauermann] so far. I know that he’s sincere in his desire to do something that benefits the SMU and Dallas communities.”

According to Ann Allen, director of landscape management at SMU, roughly 5,200 pounds of single-stream (unsorted) recyclable material is collected after a Boulevard. Schauermann hopes to recycle at least 1,000 pounds ($590) worth of aluminum cans within the 2014-15 academic year.

“It may just be a drop in the bucket for [UTSW Pediatric Department],” Schauermann said. “But it’s going toward a good cause.”

With education in finance, accounting, business ethics, advertising and marketing, Schauermann feels he is prepared to take on this responsibility and pursue his project’s goals. He hopes to be able to apply what he’s learned in his classes to benefit the community and make an impact on the school that has helped shape the person he’s become.

“His humility is not only honorable but contagious,” Fleming said. “He takes feedback with grace, with an authentic desire to be clear about how [his project] connects to his own values and interests.”

Even with his busy school agenda, Schauermann manages to find time to be involved in other areas of campus as well. He is currently in his second-year of being a Resident Assistant (RA), served two years as a Mustang Corral leader, and is a member of the pre-med honor society Alpha Epsilon Delta.

“I think the main skill I have is my capacity to care for others, which inspires me to make an impact,” said Schauermann. “My involvement in a number of community service projects has given me a serving heart, and I am dedicated to the cause.”

More to Discover