Cleaning the environment is a task that may be daunting to some. But for students, faculty and staff at Texas Tech, multiple events will provide the chance to help the earth and have fun.
RecycleMania is an eight-week competition where college students across the United States and Canada compete to be the most sustainable in different categories, according to the RecycleMania website. Colleges can compete in categories, such as the Diversion category, which consists of recycling to divert waste from landfills, and Food Organics, which consists of reducing food waste.
Colleges will receive national recognition and an award if they win a category, according to the RecycleMania website.
Lynne Thurston, senior adviser at Tech University Student Housing, said she is trying to get more of the Tech community involved in campus RecycleMania events this year.
“Our purpose is to make recycling at the front of people’s minds, so that they’ll look around for places to recycle and not just put their aluminum can in the trash or their plastic bottle in the trash,” she said. “RecycleMania focuses on doing it right, so we don’t want you to be trying to do every single piece of whatever. We want you to focus on water bottles, aluminum cans, pieces of paper.”
Even though RecycleMania already started on Feb. 2, Thurston said there will still be opportunities for students to take part in campus events until March 28 when RecycleMania ends for the year. Upcoming RecycleMania events on campus include:
Skip the Straw Day
Students are encouraged to order drinks without straws to help the environment on Feb. 28.
Get Caught Green Handed
If a student is seen being green, they will be rewarded with a coupon for Barnes and Noble. The event will take place throughout February and March.
Game Day Challenge
Anyone at Tech is encouraged to stay behind after the Tech men’s basketball game against the University of Kansas to help clean up the United Supermarkets Arena on March 7. The game will start at 1 p.m. To register as a volunteer for the event, one should email housing at firstname.lastname@example.org. This event does not allow for free admittance into the game.
Trash for Treasure
In exchange for a bag of recyclables, students can get free shirts from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on March 13 in the Free Speech Area.
Recycled Art Contest
Before taking their recyclables to a recycling center, students staff or faculty can use them to make art pieces for a contest on March 23. To register an art piece, one must enter it under GoGreen Forms at housing.ttu.edu/gogreen. The entry deadline is 4 p.m. on March 23. People will be able to vote on the art pieces from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on March 25 in the Student Union Building Courtyard.
Even though events will not be hosted during spring break, Thurston said she encourages students to apply for the Sustainability Scholarship, which has a deadline of March 22. She said about 50 scholarships were rewarded last year.
One can apply for the scholarship at the Tech University Student Housing website.
“Because we accept things from all over the city of Lubbock, not just people on campus,” Thurston said. “During RecycleMania, we make the effort to isolate all the stuff that comes to us from the campus, and we weigh it.”
The center gets a report about how many recyclables were processed, Thurston said. The Lubbock community will bring more recyclables to the center than people at Tech.
“That’s because lots and lots of citizens know that the money that we get from recycling goes to student scholarships,” she said. “So, they bring their stuff here specifically instead of taking it to a city location.”
In addition to the impact RecycleMania may have on the environment, the competition may affect participants in different ways.
Elizabeth Bowen, assistant director of the Tech Graduate Writing Center, said the center has participated in RecycleMania since 2018. The GWC’s second year taking part in RecycleMania consisted of working with the University Writing Center. This year, the GWC is the only writing center participating.
“I guess all of us who work in the writing centers are socially aware of some of the social problems in the world,” she said. “So, being good stewards, I guess, of our world and our resources are important to us. So, it just stands to reason that we would participate in something like this.”
Members of the GWC and the Graduate Center, which is where the GWC is located, typically recycle regardless of the time of year, Bowen said. There are recycling bins in the Graduate Center, and most of the staff takes their recyclables to the recycling center on campus.
“It makes it a fun way to really get recycling at the forefront of people’s minds,” she said regarding RecycleMania.
Being able to encourage education through RecycleMania, as the money goes toward student scholarships, is one factor Bowen said she likes.
“I think anything that gets people recycling rather than filling up the landfills is a great thing,” she said. “I wish more people would realize how important it is to recycle.”
For more information about RecycleMania and forms to register for certain events, visit the Tech University Student Housing website.