This post comes from James Goodhand, serving at ATU in Ozark, AR.
Here at Arkansas Technical University in Ozark, I have coordinated the school’s participation in the nationwide Recyclemania competition, an 8 week competition between colleges and universities based on recycling amounts and rates. This has been a great chance to talk to students here about recycling, develop support for other sustainability related projects and increase the campus recycling rate. My duties have included facilities improvements, such as placing recycling bins in every classroom and on the campus grounds and updating electronic “scoreboards” with our weekly recycling numbers, as well as communicating with students and answering questions about the competition and recycling in general. Asking questions such as “why do you recycle?” or “why do you think some students do not recycle?” elicit a number of responses and have even lead to suggestions for improving the school’s recycling efforts. Framing this dialog within a competition I believe has encouraged students to not only think about their personal recycling habits but also those of the school as a whole.
Recycling rates have improved here and, more importantly, the competition has laid the groundwork for upcoming efforts. I am currently working with our recycling service, food services staff and a local business owner to develop a school composting program and with various faculty, staff and community partners to organize a pharmaceutical-take back event. Several students and staff have expressed an interest in volunteering to help with these projects, and I believe Recyclemania has been instrumental in garnering this support.