A key element in this year’s third annual RecycleMania contest at East Tennessee State University is student involvement.
Kathleen Moore, director of sustainability at ETSU, said the program, which is run nationally by the College and University Recycling Coaltion, has been going strong campus wide since 2008. But, Moore is hoping this year’s eight-week initiative, which started on Feb. 5, is filled with enough incentives to help boost student participation.
“We decided that we really needed to engage our student body to help inform, educate and to just get them involved,” Moore said.
The Residence Hall Challenge has been implemented in this year’s RecycleMania, which is a friendly recycling competition between the halls to see which one will collect the most recyclables.
One of the groups helping out in the challenge is the ETSU Eco Nuts. Consisting of 12 resident coordinators, the Eco Nuts are students helping to promote sustainability and environmental initiatives throughout their respective halls. These coordinators, along with campus residence assistants, have hung flyers and set up bulletin boards showing the results of each hall in the competition, Nicholas Scarborough, RecycleMania chair said.
The recycling challenge in the residence halls, plastics bottles and cans are calculated by pound-per-resident. While only bottles and cans are being tallied in the residence hall contest, other recyclables tossed into the bins are still important.
“We are still collecting paper, we are still collecting cardboards — we’re just not weighing that as far as our residence hall challenge. But, it’s being included in our total campus numbers,” Moore said.
Chalea James, ETSU Eco Nut and Campus Sustainability Fee committee member, was active in her promotion of RecycleMania Wednesday when she dressed up as her alias, Ricki Recycle for a ‘Caught Green Handed’ event, where she wore a green wig, green shirt and heels around campus.
“Ricki Recycle walked around campus promoting the recycling and we gave prizes to people we caught recycling,” Scarborough said. When a student recycled something into one of the bins on campus, Ricki would run up to them and let them pick from prizes such as pens, t-shirts and tattoos.
While the event went well, Scarborough says when Ricki makes an appearance in the next couple of weeks they will try to place her in recyclable hot spots.
“We were thinking of next time moving around to different places like buildings that have more vending machines or the gym where people usually have water bottles,” Scarborough said.
On March 31, ETSU’s campus will celebrate ‘Earth Hour’, an international movement where the campus will shut off lights, talk about climate change and they will announce the winners of this year’s Residence Hall Challenge. The first place prize is $500, second place is $300 and third is $100.
Moore said that she hopes the increased involvement with students in this year’s event will not only help with recycling totals on campus, but will help students become more aware of their recycling options. “Recycling is an easy thing for people. We’re not asking them to spend any money, we’re just asking them to change their behavior,” Moore said.
For more information about RecycleMania, visit RecycleMania.org.