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Recycling initiatives expand to game day

Meg Mirshak | Monday, September 8, 2008

Student volunteers helped tailgaters recycle before Saturday’s football game against San Diego State University as a part of an expanded program designed to improve recycling efforts on campus.

The Game Day Recycling program grew this year under the newly created Office of Sustainability to reach tailgaters in several campus lots, said Sarah Cline, a member of the leadership team for GreeND and a Game Day Recycling volunteer on Saturday.

Game Day Recycling volunteers worked in the library and stadium parking lots, as well as White Fields, a parking area north of campus for tailgaters, she said.

GreeND, a student organization that coordinates environmental and energy activities on campus, initiated the program in 2007 but mostly covered the library lot until this year, she said.

“We’re trying to make it really easy for tailgaters to recycle,” Cline said. “We’re trying to be more comprehensive with it this year.”

Cline said tailgaters responded well to the recycling program on Saturday, but the amount of items collected was unknown on Sunday.

Student volunteers wearing purple shirts provided blue bags for tailgaters to recycle aluminum cans, plastic bottles, paper products and other recyclable items, excluding food, Cline said. Tailgaters left the blue bags in the parking spaces where a recycling company picked them up during the football game, she said.

Under the newly expanded recycling program, participating student volunteers designated $75 to be allotted to a club of their choice, she said. A selected student club or organization also helps sponsor the volunteering each home football game week by soliciting volunteers from their club, Cline said.

“A lot of people are excited about the opportunity to recycle,” Cline said. “In the past, resources weren’t there.”

Some families, especially in the library lot where Game Day Recycling was available in 2007, were expecting the student volunteers to bring the bags to their tailgate areas, she said.

“They had been waiting on us all morning,” she said.

Another member of GreeND and a volunteer on Saturday, Jackson Bangs, said he checked concession stands for recycling efforts and helped distribute blue bags where they were needed.

“We’ve never done it on this scale before,” Bangs said about the student effort to cover all of the tailgate lots and concession stands. He said the more than 10 student volunteers also checked the cardboard recycling bins placed across campus to see if they were being used effectively.

“Almost everyone I talked to was excited about the program,” Bangs said. “Some people jogged up to us to ask for a bag.”

GreeND and other campus environmental groups have not met to address the effectiveness of Saturday’s large-scale recycling effort, Jackson said.