By Joe Garvey
Harvey Logan's early memories of Old Dominion University revolve around on-campus summer programs he attended while in junior high school. He later went to sporting events and got to know some of the coaches.
That "was the magnet that drew me here," Logan said.
And for him, the magnetism of ODU has grown only stronger.
Logan, the University's assistant director of support services and recycling management, was recently honored for his nearly half-century of employment at ODU during a service recognition event for staff and classified employees.
"Harvey is a proud Monarch with a relentless work ethic and loyalty to the University," said Todd K. Johnson, assistant vice president of auxiliary support services, adding that Logan is "the epitome of what it means to be a Monarch."
Logan was hired by ODU 47 years ago, shortly after he graduated from Maury High School. He started in facilities management doing "warehouse-type" work.
"I saw how what I was doing was benefiting not only me, but the individuals around me who had to do their jobs also," he said. "It just encouraged me to stay more focused and see what else I could do to better it."
In the early 2000s, he said then-President Roseann Runte brought a sharper focus to reducing the University's carbon footprint. And Logan got a career-defining break.
"I was gifted with the responsibility of devoting my time and efforts to creating the recycling dynamics for the campus," he said. "I was in on it from ground zero. I saw that the University could benefit from it because of our desire to get the campus to be noted for our civic responsibility as well as our responsibilities to the environment."
He's led those endeavors ever since.
Logan and his staff of one hourly and one classified employee, the moving and special events team and six AARP volunteers from the Norfolk Senior Community Service Employment Program promote and conduct 11 campus recycling events annually. Logan employs a variety of strategies to engage students, faculty and staff, but the focus of his messaging is "keeping it as minimal as possible, as factual as possible, but as impactful as possible."
It's a strategy that has produced impressive results.
Since 2016, ODU's campus-wide efforts have generated more than 6.3 million pounds of recycled material, including nearly 1.4 million pounds during the 2021-22 fiscal year.
The centerpiece event is the Campus Race to Zero Waste (formerly known as RecycleMania). This 10-week national competition is held each spring and is intended to be a benchmarking tool for colleges and universities to promote waste-reduction activities. ODU has ranked among the top 100 schools annually in this competition.
"It was an initiative that the campus adopted, and everyone understood the gravity of what we were trying to achieve," Logan said. "I couldn't have done it without the leadership and the guidance of those directors and presidents at that time who were focused on meeting our obligations for sustainability. Given that kind of responsibility, I had to give so much of myself back for it."
Logan, whose interests outside ODU have included broadcasting and live theater, admitted that he almost left ODU in the 1980s for a radio job. But ultimately, he decided he'd be "just a voice" in radio and that he could make more of an impact at the University because "Old Dominion's voice is huge."
He said his career at ODU has been a life-changing experience.
"I'm a firm believer that in this garden that I call Old Dominion, it allows a broken tree to bear fruit," he said. "I'm just a broken branch, man. But I'm able to bear fruit."