Waste Management (WM), a leading provider of environmental services in Middle Tennessee, has announced a three-year, $300,000 commitment to Tennessee State University (TSU). The pledge was first unveiled by Dr. Glenda Glover, president of TSU, and Don Gentilcore, Mid-South area director of Disposal Operations for WM, during the halftime of TSU’s homecoming football game. It will focus on environmental sustainability research, and providing scholarships and internships for students attending TSU.
“We appreciate the support from Waste Management and the opportunities this partnership will create for the university and our students,” said Dr. Glover. “Scholarships, internships and research will be the main focus of our collaboration as we work for the continued success of TSU students.”
WM owns and operates Southern Services Construction and Demolition (C&D) Landfill & Eco Park (Southern Services), an 183-acre, more than 30-year-old site located off Briley Parkway in Nashville. Southern Services is home to both the only C&D landfill and C&D recycling facility in Davidson County. The volume of C&D waste, which includes materials like concrete, brick, metal, and asphalt, has nearly doubled in the last decade as Nashville’s growth and development has accelerated, while the recycling rate has decreased.
To help explore alternative solutions and strategies to address this growing problem, $150,000 of WM’s $300,000 commitment will be directed towards research conducted by students and faculty from TSU’s Colleges of Agriculture and Engineering in conjunction with the company’s Middle Tennessee staff focused on diversion and recovery of C&D materials to reduce landfill waste. For example, projects may examine the ability of source separation, incorporation of recovered materials for use in new builds and methods and procedures for handling debris generated during catastrophic events in Middle Tennessee.
“We are proud to work with TSU to undertake innovative research and explore new approaches to sustainability,” said Gentilcore. “WM collaborates with Metro Nashville on multiple solid waste management initiatives, and we are committed to supporting the region’s sustainability goals. But those goals are ambitious. TSU, with its outstanding track record in the environmental sciences, is an ideal partner as we seek to identify long-term solutions to sustainably manage the region’s C&D waste stream.”
The remaining $150,000 from WM will be directed towards primarily need-based scholarships for up to 10 students each year attending TSU from the Nashville area. Beginning in fall 2022, TSU will select eligible students to receive the scholarships and administer the program. Additionally, WM will provide up to four paid summer internship opportunities for TSU students per year across the company’s service functions in the southeast.