University places 2nd in
RecycleMania competition

Defending champion Miami University of Ohio
took first place, narrowly beating the UO residence halls

Oregon Daily Emerald
Eva Sylwester News Reporter April 26, 2005

University residence hall students took second place in RecycleMania, a national intercollegiate recycling competition that ended April 9.
Despite the loss, event organizers are still optimistic about the increased recycling awareness the competition brought to campus.

"Second place is not second rate, in terms of our performance," University Housing Recycling Coordinator Robyn Hathcock said. "I'm really proud of the U of O."

Defending champion Miami University of Ohio took first place, collecting 66.19 pounds of recyclable materials per residence hall resident during the 10-week competition. The University placed a close second, with 65.1 pounds. There are 3,131 students in the residence halls.

According to a RecycleMania press release, the University actually held first place by a slim margin through the first six weeks of the competition.

"The final week was an unprecedented effort," Hathcock said. The weekend before the competition ended, volunteers from the Residence Hall Association went door-to-door in the residence halls and offered to take out students' recycling for them. The effort netted an average of 10.12 pounds of recyclables per student that week, compared with approximately six pounds per student other weeks.

Hathcock emphasized that the University's performance improved since its last RecycleMania appearance in 2003, when the residence halls collected 51.4 pounds of recyclables per student.

"We're excited because we really raised the bar," she said. RHA President Todd Mann said the competition drew attention from students.

"Seeing resident after resident checking the scores day after day was inspiring to me," Mann wrote in an e-mail. "By mixing competition, community service and leadership, I believe we really increased a sense of responsibility to the community in the residence halls." Mann described the competition as a way to get students interested in recycling.

"RecycleMania serves as reminder to those in the residence halls and throughout Housing that recycling really does make a difference," Mann wrote in an e-mail. "To some, it's all about the competition, but if that's what gets them recycling, it helps out everyone in the end. There are so many things that people don't think can be recycled that get thrown away every day."

According to a survey conducted by Campus Recycling on April 7 and 8, students in the residence hall overwhelmingly said they would continue to recycle after RecycleMania ended, by a margin of 149 to 5. Of 154 students surveyed, 12 said they did not recycle before RecycleMania started. Residents collected 53.5 pounds of recyclables per resident during the 10 weeks of fall term.

Hathcock noted that the 2005 RecycleMania competition involved almost 200,000 college students across the country and thousands of tons of recyclable materials were collected. "The awareness is just fantastic," Hathcock said. "The collective effort at the universities sends a message to the rest of the country that recycling requires action." Hathcock said next year there will likely be some recycling competition in the residence halls, whether in the form of an intra-campus event or RecycleMania.

"Next year, I'd like to see even more involvement not only on the part of RHA, but also at the complex level," Mann wrote. "With returning for my second year as president and having my programming chair Cristen McLean return for her third year in that position, I'm hoping RecycleMania will be bigger and better next year and we'll show everyone that Oregon really is the original green team."

In the meantime, Campus Recycling's next project will involve turning the Spring Street Faire and Willamette Valley Music Festival into reduced waste events. Composting and recycling bins for food waste and paper food packaging will be set up next to trash cans. "It's a nice movement into more expanded waste reduction," Hathcock said.

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