Ranking fourth in California, the University of San Diego is in its sixth week participating in a nationwide competition called RecycleMania. When asking community members about how they are involved in the contest, though, why is it that few people seem to know about it?
“For USD, RecycleMania is more of an assessment of what our school is already doing,” said Paula Morreale, an administrator for the Office of Sustainability. “We haven’t done a whole lot of advertisement mostly because RecycleMania is a snapshot capturing how well our recycling practices are as an ongoing thing. It’s not about winning a competition.”
A sticker campaign that was implemented within USD’s residential halls and living spaces on campus at the start of the 2011-12 school year was one of the ways USD strives to promote recycling.
“We want to educate people and teach them rather than pushing people to only recycle for a few months,” Morreale said. “We’re more interested in behavior change that will continue over time.”
Daily reminders on trash bins educate living communities about recyclable products and resident assistants for sustainability for Living Learning Communities support the program as best they can.
“I try to set an example for my residence,” said USD student RA Samantha Jasa. “I tell my residence that the school provides each room with a trash bin and a recycling bin, we might as well use both.”
USD not only informs the campus about what is recyclable but it provides a space for both the university and the San Diego community to recycle old electronics. Austin Lucas, a senior and worker at USD’s E-Waste Collection Center on Linda Vista Road near the campus’ west entrance, advocates for a more sustainable way to dispose.
“We try to do whatever we can to get the word out to tell people there is a better way to get rid of waste through a safe and environmentally conscious way.”
Facilities greatly contributed to make USD’s recycling efforts easy and convenient on campus by having trash cans next to recycle baskets
“This competition wraps up March 31 but as far as recycling goes, it should not stop at the end of this month,” said Lou Magana, manager of General Services and USD’s leader for recycling efforts. “Throughout the year we should all be conscious. A lot of times people will throw away recyclables in trash bins. It takes one second to look at the next bin over and recycle. We need to band together to try to make the extra effort and become more aware of trying not to generate trash in the first place.”
The entire USD community is involved with this recycling contest whether we think so or not. As consumers, we inevitably create trash. But competitions such as RecycleMania create an opportunity for us to think about increasing recycling efforts and reducing trash. More than 600 schools nationwide participate in the eight-week friendly competition to be crowned the top recycling institutions. Even when this event is over, mania will continue and the USD community will persist in finding ways to continue its recycling efforts.
— Alyssa Aninag ‘13