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Halls compete in RecycleMania

Kara Coyle | Tuesday, February 12, 2008

With more than 400 colleges participating in the 2008 RecycleMania challenge, the 10-week competition has propelled the students of Notre Dame to actively – and even stealthily – collect as many recyclables as possible.

RecycleMania, established in 2001, is a national competition to increase recycling efforts and raise waste reduction awareness on college campuses.

Junior Lourdes Long, a member of the co-sponsoring Energy and Environmental Issues Committee, said the event is designed to increase consciousness of recycling and environmental issues.

“Awareness is our No. 1 goal,” she said.

The competition is also sponsored by the Student Senate’s University Affairs Committee.

Long said it is the hope of these two committees that over the course of the competition, recycling “will become habit” for students at Notre Dame.

While this is Notre Dame’s first year participating in RecycleMania, the University has already increased the competitiveness of the challenge by encouraging competition between residence halls.

“Our goals are to have some fun,” said Long.

As RecycleMania continues in to its third week, the results from the first week have been revealed. In the Per Capita Classic, which measures the amount of recyclables per student in a dorm, Notre Dame amassed 1.7 pounds of recyclable goods per person in dorms, ranking the University No. 21 among participants, according to the RecycleMania Web site.

On the Notre Dame campus, Farley, McGlinn and Cavanaugh amassed the most recyclables during week one, while McGlinn, Cavanaugh and Howard were the three leaders during week two, Long said.

Some students have gone to extremes to win the competition. Residents of some dorms have engaged in recycling raids, often involving costumes, while some editions of weekly dorm notes have encouraged residents to steal a competing halls recyclables.

For example, Long, along with Ann Kelley, Students for Environmental Action member and Notre Dame’s RecycleMania leader, single-handedly raided every dorm on North Quad last week for recyclables.

“I’m encouraging it,” Lourdes said. “I’m leading the way.”

The RecycleMania competition occurs during a year of increased University recycling efforts.

This fall, the University collaborated with student volunteers to initiate coordinated recycling on the days of some home football games. By handing out recycling bags at Notre Dame tailgates, Long said the group “collected thousands of pounds of recyclables.”

The 2008 Notre Dame forum will address the topic of “Charting a Sustainable Energy Future.”