Social responsibility of higher education
Appropriate Technology, Mug, Reduction, Solid Waste, Environmental Education
Artifact and Organization: Delivery of Mugs as a Symbolic Act of Recycling Ideas and Values
Sao Paulo University
Latin America and Caribbean
Gabriela Graça Ferreira
The practice is an initiative of USP Recycles, a program of the University of São Paulo, and found in the School of Arts, Sciences and Humanities (EACH) host and generated impacts to the development of environmentally active behaviors. This is a simple action with big impact: the supply of mugs, successful from many points of view. If understood in light of experience and appropriate technology, the mug is a device that minimizes the production of plastic cups in cafeterias and water fountains. It has important significance as a restructuring of organizational practices mobilized for the various sectors of EACH and has changed people's routines. Another practice that deserves some consideration is the distribution of mugs, a voluntary initiative that mobilizes different agents for their delivery to freshmen in college. The merit of the initiative is given the perspective of pedagogy, for it reached the dynamics of EACH and initiatives of purchasing entities in its surroundings.
The term 'appropriate technology' has been gradually replaced by other technology such as 'social' or 'socially appropriate' technology which does not significantly change its use or meaning. It's a much more semantic dispute, that the proposition of any news, is a political dispute surrounding discourses that seek to switch the name without changing their meanings. Appropriate technologies began in India as a strategy of nonviolent cultural resistance Gandhi lived by. In Germany, Schumacher, presents the thesis that it is possible to imagine intermediate technologies that allow developing countries to achieve technologically advanced levels without the massive deployment of capital. In Brazil the experiences of appropriate technology began to be implemented by the government of Montoro in the State of Sao Paulo in the early '80s. Subsequent initiatives to develop alternative technologies have gained the name of Social Technologies. The analytical framework of appropriate technology presented in this paper is represented by a triangle whose vertices are technological artifacts, management and pedagogy. At the center we have the institutional liaison, responsible for the viability of the projects of technology implementation. The pedagogical perspective is the critical environmental education discussed mainly by the creators of USP Recycles. This approach seeks an educational process that enables learners to develop a critical awareness about the institutions, actors and social factors, environmental conflicts in their local contexts. Aims to propose a pedagogical strategy for dealing with these conflicts through collective exercise of citizenship as a debate, the solidarity work in small groups and committees. The pedagogy thus reflected in the management process, in which case is guided by the principle of 3R's, the shared management of waste, which seeks to engage and articulate different community players in the division of powers and responsibilities towards convergent objectives.
The objectives of this project are to reduce the use of disposable cups in cafeterias of EACH, and from that practice, making people aware of the issue of unsustainable patterns of consumption and the current generation of solid waste, especially in urban centers. Reducing the use of disposable cups in cafeterias and drinking fountains of EACH.
The distribution made by the USP Recycles program occurs at the beginning of the year for freshmen at USP. Each receives a mug, the basic instructions for use and are aware of the abolition of disposable cups. There was a concern with the articulation of sector purchases, to resume the purchase of disposable cups, and the refectory of EACH, to require the use of mugs. From the first year, student organizations inserted mugs in the kits they sell to freshmen and multiplying the distribution and promoting the idea of reducing the use of disposable cups. This continuous process of technological diffusion among the other activities promoted by entities that hover around the school: extension projects, organizing committees of parties and student events, were entering the mugs and the symbolism that is inserted into this technological artifact.
A concrete result is that we have spread the practice of delivering mugs as symbolic act by reducing the use of disposables. It is estimated that reducing the use of plastic cups from 2005 to 2010, reached the figure of 4.896 million, in view of the number of meals served in the cafeteria of EACH. This represents a reduction of R $ 176,256.00. In terms of reducing waste volume it is estimated that the initiative of USP Recycles coupled with other initiatives arrives at a figure of 244 800 m³. These impressive numbers were achieved only through the diffusion process. The contribution of technology initiatives to reapply mugs 60% of estimated results. 12,530 were distributed, of which only 5,100 returned by USP Recycles. Another significant result is the implementation of the "culture of the mug" in all areas of EACH, not counting the possibility of replication of the technology in other areas not covered in this article. The device, organizing and environmental education initiatives that worked and found adherents volunteers for its continuity.
More important than the quantitative results is the recycling of ideas. Not only is it a policy to reduce use of disposable and minimizing the environmental impacts of human actions. The program, over five years, implemented a process of technological diffusion that altered everyday practices by implementing the "culture of mug" within the university community and the adoption of a symbol that allows each individual to become a multiplying agent of good practice within and outside the university. Besides the change in individual practices, it managed to internalize environmental values in the internal structure of management EACH.