GVSU places in top 50 at RecycleMania

GVL / Courtesy - Yumiko Jakobcic 
Student Environmental Coalition helping to sort waste at the 2016 Lubbers Cup

Yumiko Jakobcic

GVL / Courtesy – Yumiko Jakobcic Student Environmental Coalition helping to sort waste at the 2016 Lubbers Cup

Kyle Bindas

With sustainability as one of Grand Valley State University’s seven core values, the university takes recycling and sustainability very seriously. This year, GVSU lived up that core value by placing 47th in RecycleMania.

RecycleMania is an annual competition among schools around the country to see which institution can practice the best sustainability habits. There are several categories in the contest, such as the per capita classic, waste minimization, and several other categories for recycling different material types, as well as an overall grand champion.

Out of a total of 140 schools, this year GVSU ranked 15th in recycling food service organics nationwide, and was highest ranked in the state for this category. This category was a measurement of organic food waste and anything organic that was handled alongside food that was donated, recycled or composted during the contest. The judging period was between January 21 and March 31. During this time, the GVSU recycling program, facilities services, the Office of Sustainability and students worked hard to recycle as much as they could. A total of 13,494 pounds-per capita of food waste was recycled by the school during the competition.

RecycleMania was led by the facilities services department, but was a combined effort by a variety of organizations on campus.

“I work with the sustainability office too, so student groups are aware and can help with recycling (and) composting,” said Janet Aubil, operations supervisor of facilities services. “The food service company also helps as much as they can to make sure all their stuff goes into compost, which is our largest source of composting.”

Student involvement is a big part of GVSU’s sustainability practices, and Lakers helped contribute to GVSU’s recycling success this year.

“We are very fortunate to have a lot of student involvement in sustainability in general, and in RecycleMania specifically,” said Yumiko Jakobcic, campus sustainability coordinator. “There are groups like the Student Environmental Coalition and the Green Team who help to sort waste during RecycleMania, and also during sporting events.”

In addition to scoring highly in the food services organics category, GVSU placed 47th out of 204 for the overall grand championship. This is the seventh year that GVSU has participated in the competition.

Events like RecycleMania help promote GVSU’s message of sustainability for the future, and its dedication to recycling.

“We want to have a good place for us and our future generations and if we can help teach students, faculty to recycle and make it a normal part of their lives, it will just benefit everyone in the long run,” Aubil said. “That is why we do the Zero Waste football games and RecycleMania. Organizations at Grand Valley are continuing to improve their efforts in sustainability.”

Aubil is open to suggestions from students, faculty and staff for how to keep momentum going for next year and to place even higher.

“I really look for and welcome any group on campus to help with these competitions too,” she said.

To learn more about sustainability, visit the Office of Sustainability’s webpage at www.gvsu.edu/sustainability.