By Lauren Santye
With the ongoing environmental concerns for our planet and the go-green movement, Rider is participating in the RecycleMania competition to promote sustainability.
RecycleMania is an eight-week-long national competition in which colleges and universities across the country participate.
The 2013 competition was launched on Feb. 3.Rider has been competing since 2009 and hopes the eight weeks well encourage students to be more eco-friendly.
Currently, Rider is ranked at 14 of 228 in the Grand Champion category, with a recycling rate of 63.19%.
Although Rider has yet to win the competition and receive a trophy created from recycled materials, Melissa Greenberg, Rider’s stainability manager, says it’s not always about winning.
“For us, it’s not really about the trophy,” Greenberg said. “We just use it for an educational opportunity. We do so many different things all year, so to bring up the focus on Recyclemania for a period of time, I think is really good.”
RecycleMania started in 2001 as a competition between two rival schools, Ohio University and Miami University. As of 2011, there were 630 different universities and colleges involved.
The university’s Eco-Reps are excited to continue the tradition of successful sustainability.
“Rider’s goal for Recyclemania is to create more likeminded people in the community,” said Sharlis Thompson, a senior psychology major and Eco-Rep on the Lawrenceville campus. “That way we can continue to have amazing results in the years to come but also set examples for other schools with our sustainable initiatives on campus.”
Within the competition, there are eight different categories that schools can choose to participate in. These include the Grand Champion category, where trash and core recyclable materials are combined to get the recycling rate percentage for overall waste; the Per Capita Classic, which looks for the biggest collection of paper, cardboard, bottles and cans on a per-person basis; Waste Minimization, where schools compete to produce the least amount of recycling and trash per person; the Gorilla Prize, which usually goes to larger schools with developed recycling programs, and looks for the highest gross tonnage of paper, cardboard, bottles and cans and the targeted material programs: Paper, Cardboard, Cans/Bottles and Food Service Organics. The goal is to recycle the largest amount on a per capita basis.
Each week Eco-Reps have an information table set up in Cranberry’s to help spread awareness. They talk to people during lunch periods, trying to get them involved. These information tables have a different theme each week like paper, plastic or food waste. During the plastic-themed week, an activity urged students to write down how many things with plastic they come into contact with.
“People are blown away,” Greenberg said. “They can write down like 50 things between 8 a.m. and noon that they have touched that has some sort of plastic. When you raise someone’s awareness, they realize that plastic is everywhere.”
Thompson hopes the Eco-Reps’ presentations will encourage members of the Rider community to make a change in their lives.
“I hope that the people who have visited the tables and learned about various topics will adopt a more sustainable lifestyle and develop eco-friendly habits,” Thompson said.
Thompson adds that she ultimately would like to see many people realize that living “greener” is an easy thing to do.
“We want people to be able to live the lifestyle they want but in a more sustainable way,” Thompson said.