Stephany Kaufman — Staff Reporter
It’s RecycleMania season at Southern and students should expect to see more recycling events on campus than ever before, according to Heather Stearns, director of recycling.
“We come up with more and more ideas each year so there’s more involvement each year,” Stearns said.
Between Feb. 5 and March 31, Southern will be participating in RecycleMania, a competition between universities across the country to see who can recycle the most during the eight-week period.
Stearns said it’s important to educate students on sustainability because 70 percent of what is thrown into wastebaskets is recyclable; RecycleMania is a time to make recycling a lifelong habit.
“I think they just need to make a conscious effort,” she said. “Once students get used to recycling, they won’t even need to think about it.”
Stearns said she is forming RecycleMania events alongside other faculty and staff on campus. Robert DeMezzo, associate director of Residence Life, and Meg Rudne, Hickerson Hall director, are working with Stearns in organizing the RecycleMania competition in residence halls.
“We do our own little competition in the residence halls,” DeMezzo said. “The nine buildings will compete against each other to see who recycles the most.”
In order to fairly determine which residence hall is recycling the most, the recycling dumpster of each residence hall will be individually weighed every Friday. The weight of the dumpster is then divided by the number of students residing in that residence hall, said DeMezzo.
To encourage some friendly competition, RecycleMania scoreboards will be put up on the first floor of each residence hall so students can see where their hall ranks compared to others, said DeMezzo. The residence hall that does the most recycling will receive a prize.
DeMezzo said he finds it important to get students living on campus involved in RecycleMania.
“I think with about 2,800 students living on campus we have a lot of opportunity to educate, raise awareness and practice good sustainability,” he said.
Yanelly Olivera, freshman social work major, said she believes the rivalry between residence halls will motivate students to recycle more.
“I think it will have a really big turnout because people love to compete with each other,” Olivera said.
In addition to the residence hall competition, DeMezzo said individual students could be rewarded for their sustainable efforts.
“Some Residence Life staff are looking to catch students ‘green handed,’” he said.
Those who are ‘caught’ could receive free T-shirts, according to DeMezzo.
RecycleMania’s events are not just limited to students living on campus, however. There will be campus-wide recycling contests and giveaways including a weekly recycling trivia contest, Stearns said. RecycleMania trivia questions will be sent weekly through Public Affairs’ Events@Southern email. The first person to call the recycling office with the correct answer will win a prize, according to Stearns.
Students can also help Southern win $5,000 worth of recycling bins from Busch Systems. On Feb. 15, 22 laptops will be set up in the Engleman rotunda for students to log in to Facebook and vote for the Sustainable Southern logo. Students that vote will be entered into a drawing for a recycling gift pack, Stearns said.
Although RecycleMania is a competition, Stearns said it is about much more than that; it is about gaining awareness.
“RecycleMania isn’t always about winning,” Stearns said. “It’s about educating and changing the kind of culture here and letting students know that we are a sustainable campus and that we are doing our part as an administration to be as sustainable as we can. Without our community, we won’t be successful.”