Contest promotes sustainability

Temple’s fourth year participating in RecycleMania aims to raise environmental awareness.

Temple’s fourth year participating in RecycleMania aims to raise environmental awareness.

For the fourth year in a row, Temple is participating in RecycleMania, an effort that started Jan. 17 and runs through March 27, to promote sustainability and advance environmental awareness across campus.

BECKY KERNER TTN Although RecycleMania is only a 10-week contest, the Sustainability Office hopes that the recycling habits and environmentally friendly behavior endure throughout the remainder of the year. Director of Sustainability Sandra McDade said recycling is often the gateway to being a more conscientious person.

Overseen by Temple’s Office of Sustainability, RecycleMania is a 10-week period, during which schools record their recycling data and are then ranked by the largest amount of recyclables collected per capita, the total largest amount of recyclables collected, the least amount of trash per capita and the highest recycling rate. Last year’s contest yielded 32,200 tons of collected recyclables throughout all the participating schools in the nation.

“Even though RecycleMania is only a 10-week contest, we hope that the recycling habit endures for the entire year, and not only on campus but in [students’] personal lives,” said Director of Sustainability Sandra McDade.

In 2009, Temple came in second place in the Atlantic Ten Conference for Waste Minimization and were fifth in overall in the state. Last year, Temple also came in second place in Pennsylvania for the “Gorilla Prize,” which is the contest for the highest gross tonnage of collected recyclables.

Temple hopes to win the Gorilla Prize for the A-10 schools this year. McDade said the closest competitor is George Washington University.

Among all the schools, Temple placed 39th last year in the Gorilla Prize, and representatives from the Office of Sustainability said they hope to improve with this year’s contest.

RecycleMania generates publicity through newspapers, flyers and promotional events. They held a promotional event at the Temple men’s basketball game versus LaSalle Jan. 30, where green rally towels were distributed. Students who live in the residence halls will also have the opportunity to help in competitions at the end of February to see who can recycle the most.

Curtis Arnett, a freshman jazz instrumental performance major, said he was interested in hearing more about RecycleMania and was happy to hear about Temple’s participation.

“Making it a competition might motivate more students, so if it works then it’s a good idea,” Arnett said.
Temple also has a “green team” of students which is around the school to encourage RecycleMania. The “green team” is noticeable around campus with their green T-shirts, and they are available for information on what students can do to support RecycleMania and similar efforts recycling efforts.

So far, the 2010 competition has produced 75,601 cumulative recyclable pounds through the first two weeks of collection. Cardboard, catalogs, hard and softbound books, junk mail, magazines, newspapers, office paper and phone books are all eligible for RecycleMania. Plastics, aluminum cans and glass are also encouraged to be recycled to help Temple in the RecycleMania competition.

The objective of RecycleMania is to educate students and encourage them to make a determined, conscious effort to recycle more on campus.

“We want to make students aware that it is not enough to recycle, individuals need to purchase products with recycled content to keep the whole process moving forward sustainably,” McDade said.
Clubs such as Temple Student Government, Students for Environmental Action and the Students for Responsible Business are all active in helping to promote RecycleMania and encourage student involvement.

With great student support and participation, the Office of Sustainability looks forward to making this RecycleMania a success. With more than the competition in mind, RecycleMania hopes the lessons it teaches will leave Temple students with a new perspective on the importance of recycling.

McDade encouraged student support for RecycleMania, citing how valuable it is for each individual to contribute.

“Recycling is often the entree for students to become sensitive to other pressing environmental issues,” McDade said, “such as global warming, conservation of resources, biodiversity, et cetera, [so] recycling efforts can have far-reaching effects.”

Mark Lauterbach can be reached at

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