GVSU gears up to go green

The Student Environmental Coalition is working in high gear to raise awareness on campus for the seventh annual RecycleMania tournament.

Bill Kinter, president of the SEC, said Grand Valley State University is one of hundreds of universities across the U.S. that participates in the event. As of Jan. 30, 424 colleges and universities were signed up for the nationwide competition.

The official competition began Feb. 2 and will continue through March 29.

There are eight categories in the ten-week tournament including which institution can collect the the largest amount of total recyclables, which cangenerate the least amount of trash per capita and which has the highest recycling rate.

Last year, GVSU ranked 106 out of 273 universities in the grand champion category. In 2012, GVSU ranked 77 out of 266 schools in the same category.

Kinter said the SEC wants to raise awareness about recycling and show students how to do it properly while having fun at the same time.

He said sometimes people can get confused with all the options for recycling or composting that Campus Dining offers, especially the compostable plastics. However, he added that this should not discourage them from recycling.

“I want to get a conversation going with people,” Kinter said. “Something that will resonate.”

The SEC plans to set up tables in the Kirkhof Center where people can engage in recycling activities and competitions. Kinter said many students do not know much about the RecycleMania competition, so they often participate less than the university as a whole does.

“Even though Grand Valley is hailed as a sustainable school, they actually don’t do that well,” Kinter said.

He said he thinks this is because students lack encouragement to get involved.

Katie Torkelson, vice president of the SEC, said the SEC will work on advertising the competition and planning fun events.

“There’s so much to learn about it,” she said.

The SEC also discussed the composting efforts on campus.

According to the GVSU RecycleMania website, between 2010 and 2012, the university has been increasing its composting while decreasing the pounds of waste it puts out.

The SEC plans to start a campus-wide composting initiative beginning with the Frederik Meijer Honors College. It then will spread it to other dorms and on-campus housing.

On weekends, the SEC volunteers at Comprenew and the Blandford Nature Center. It also works with the GVSU Farm Club at the Sustainable Agriculture Project, located at 4539 Luce St. in Allendale. The two clubs often come together between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Fridays to volunteer during the farm’s open hours.

For more information about the SAP and ways to get involved, visit www.gvsu.edu/sustainableagproject.

Students interested in RecycleMania can visit www.gvsu.edu/facilitiesservices/recyclemania-2013-31.