March 7, 2012
Local colleges compete in recycling challenge sponsored by Alcoa
The three dominant institutions for higher learning in Southwestern Indiana are competing this month in a nationwide challenge to see who can reduce, reuse and recycle the most on-campus waste.
The University of Evansville, the University of Southern Indiana and Ivy Tech Community College are among more than 600 schools participating in the national RecycleMania competition. To complement RecycleMania, which is sponsored by the Alcoa Foundation, Alcoa Warrick Operations has challenged each of the three participating schools in a local contest. They will be vying against one another in the final half of the eight-week challenge, which concludes March 30.
Alcoa Warrick Operations will provide a cash prize of $1,500 to the winner in the local challenge.
Last year, Alcoa Warrick Operations and the Alcoa Foundation provided recycling bins to USI and UE to help the local schools in their on-campus recycling efforts. This year, Ivy Tech Community College – Southwest has joined the competition, too. So it will receive 100, 23-gallon recycling bins from the Alcoa Foundation to assist students, faculty and staff in the school’s first year in the contest.
Alcoa is a recognized leader in sustainability and has set a strategic goal to increase the recycling rate of used aluminum beverage cans to 75 percent by 2015. The RecycleMania competition will let thousands of students know that everyday actions can make a difference.
At the March 7 news conference, students representing the three colleges spoke about their school's participation in RecycleMania. Pictured are UE's Emilie Reckner, a junior environmental administration major; Jordan Whitledge, USI's student Government Association President and a major in business administration, economics and political science; and Ivy Tech's Brittany Finch, who is studying nursing at the community college.
“In the U.S., we have an enormous opportunity to improve our environmental footprint by recycling more of what we consume,” said Paula Davis, the President of the Alcoa Foundation. “When recycled, a can of soda is back on the shelf in just 60 days.”
Last year, USI and UE both won awards for their participation in the program and shared recycling knowledge with their students, including the fact that aluminum can be recycled infinitely.
The University of Evansville took first in the state of Indiana among 10 Hoosier schools, and it also placed in the top tier of schools nationwide on a per capita basis. Meanwhile, the University of Southern Indiana won in the state-wide category to see which school could divert the greatest amount of food service organics per person.
This year, the University of Evansville is the defending champion in the local competition.
"Teaching and modeling social responsibility, including sustainability, is a core goal of the University of Evansville's strategic plan, so we’re thrilled to once again participate in RecycleMania," said UE President Thomas A. Kazee. "We've been proud to demonstrate community leadership on this topic by building Vanderburgh County's first two LEED-certified buildings, made possible in part by a generous grant from the Alcoa Foundation, and by winning the first intra-city RecycleMania challenge in 2011."
"Our students look forward to another friendly competition and hope to exceed last year's recycling totals, but no matter the results, it's a win-win. Our entire community will benefit from the increased focus on recycling and sustainability."
Linda L.M. Bennett, the President of the University of Southern Indiana, said: "Wise use of our resources is such an important part of our lives today that projects such as RecycleMania take on a strong educational role on campus and in the larger community.
“We're pleased to join Ivy Tech and University of Evansville in this friendly competition and, no matter who wins, the results are that our community benefits from more recycling and better sustainable practices,” she said. “We thank Keep America Beautiful and Alcoa for sponsoring these events."
Ivy Tech Community College, meanwhile, is excited about joining with their colleagues in creating a spirited competition that will focus the entire campus on the importance of waste reduction and conservation.
“The students, faculty, and staff at Ivy Tech Community College have been so motivated by the Recycle Mania challenge, and we are seeing great results,” said Ivy Tech Chancellor Dan Schenk. “Alcoa has been a great partner in this initiative to increase the amount of items we recycle, as well as educate our campus and the community about the importance of recycling.”
In 2011, 630 participating colleges and universities collected over 91 million pounds of recyclables and compostable organics. This prevented the release of 127,553 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E) into the atmosphere.
The Alcoa Foundation is a national sponsor of RecycleMania, Inc., which is governed by a steering committee made up of recycling managers from participating universities. Program management for the 2012 RecycleMania Tournament is provided by Keep America Beautiful, the national nonprofit organization.
A complete list of participants and additional information about RecycleMania can be found at http://recyclemaniacs.org.