RecycleMania Has Begun!

RecycleMania Has Begun!

The past several years Mount Union has participated in a month-long, nationwide recycling competition called RecycleMania. The competition started on February 4 and runs through March 30, with the involvement of 523 schools, more than 4.4 million students and nearly 1 million faculty and staff participating in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Canada. During this … Read more

The past several years Mount Union has participated in a month-long, nationwide recycling competition called RecycleMania. The competition started on February 4 and runs through March 30, with the involvement of 523 schools, more than 4.4 million students and nearly 1 million faculty and staff participating in 47 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.

During this whole month, all the competing schools will recycling and compost roughly 94.4 million pounds and have Greenhouse Gas Reduction of 148,897 (MTCO2E). Last year Mount Union finished 206 place while achieving a recycling rate of 20.18%. You can download the full 2012 Competition Final Results here. We want your help to help improve this rate and climb to the leader board! Please help remember to recycle at all possible times and spread the word.

Download a Mount Union RecycleMania flyer to help promote the competition!

National recognition is provided to the winning school in each category on the RecycleMania website and in a national press release. Winning schools receive an award made out of recyclable materials, and win the right to host that category’s special traveling trophy for the coming year. Here are some overall goals of the competition:

  1. Motivate students and staff to increase recycling efforts and reduce waste generation.
  2. Generate attention and support for campus recycling programs.
  3. Encourage colleges to measure and benchmark recycling activity in their effort to improve their programs over time.
  4. Have a fair and friendly competition.

Schools compete in 11 categories to see which can recycle the most paper, cardboard, cans and bottles and food waste on a per capita basis; which can produce the least amount of waste; and which recycles the largest percentage of their overall waste stream. In one of two new categories – Game Day: Basketball – schools are challenged to increase their recycling and reduce waste generation at a single home basketball game. A second new category targeting film plastics will call attention to the recyclability of items such as dry cleaning bags, shrink wrap and shopping bags. Mount Union just competes in the general categories.

Happy recycling, and follow our Facebook page!

AASHE Conference 2011

AASHE Conference 2011

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This past Sunday, on October 9, I was fortunate to attend the AASHE Conference in Pittsburgh, PA. AASHE, which stands for the Association for Advancement in Sustainability in Higher Education, has a mission to empower higher education to lead the sustainability transformation. The organization does this by providing resources, professional development and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in everything it does, from governance and operations to education and research. Since I am a member of Mount Union’s Sustainability Management Advisory Committee (SMAC), they were able to cover the costs for me and three other students to go.

The conference on Sunday featured the Student Summit, where there were breakout sessions from many colleges over the nation presenting material and giving advice to other students. One presentation was from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire on how it allocated a green fund. A green fund is part of student’s tuition it and goes into a certain account, which is used for sustainable projects. They had some great ideas, and hopefully they are some Mount can implement! One of the guys presenting from this school actually knew people from my hometown of Cedarburg too … what a small world.

Other events that were going on were keynote speakers and an expo at the convention center. The keynote speakers were Bill McKibben, author and founder of 350.org, and Majora Carter, founder of The Sustainable South Bronx and MCG consulting. They keynotes focused on climate change, under-served communities and universities. I really enjoyed listening to Bill McKibben speak because I have been following his non-profit for some time. 350.org is building a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis and push for policies that will put the world on track to get to 350 ppm. 350 parts per million is what many scientists, climate experts and progressive national governments are now saying is the safe upper limit for CO2 in our atmosphere. The picture to the right of this blog is of Mount Union students with Bill McKibben. Some good books he has written are Eaarth and Deep Economy. I was able to get him sign a copy for me!

“Very few people can ever say that they are in the single most important place they can possibly be, doing the single most important thing they could possibly be doing. That’s YOU, here now.” – Bill McKibben in relation to students and climate change.

There also was an expo where there were many businesses and organizations that featured cutting-edge innovations. Some of these ideas were shared to the many sustainability managers from all over the nation that were present. I was able to talk to some cool companies, and hopefully I can land another internship!

This conference was truly an awesome experience for me since I am so interested in the topics of sustainability, global perspectives and environmental education. We were also able to explore Pittsburgh a little bit and walk around PNC Park and Heinz Field while the game was going on. It was awesome being by the river seeing people tailgating on their boats, and one group was even cooking hot dogs in a canoe! This just goes to show that by getting involved with organizations on campus, many cool opportunities that will present themselves. I sure hope Mount Union can go to the conference next year in Los Angeles.