Campus to participate in national recycling competition

The race to recycle is on again.

Campus organizers of RecycleMania, a national recycling competition that began Sunday and will last until April 7, said they are ready to bounce back from a disappointing finish in last year’s competition.

The Horned Frogs finished last in the region and 149th out of 175 schools nationwide. TCU students collected 4.42 cumulative pounds of recyclables per person, while the winning school, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University in New York, collected 101.12 pounds per person, according to RecycleMania’s Web site.

Lack of student participation is one of the greatest obstacles to this competition, said members of Adduco Viridis, an environmental club on campus that is a Latin phrase for “to lead green.”

Taylor Schadt, a junior business major, said things would be different if recycling bins were more visible around campus.

“People would do it [recycle] a lot more if they knew they could,” Schadt said.

AV President Kimberly Banzhaf said inaccurate weekly calculations hurt TCU’s standings in last year’s competition.

“We had some logistics to work out that took us longer than we had expected,” Banzhaf said. “We know our strategy this year.”

This year’s RecycleMania will involve two competitions – one among dormitories and another among university departments.

“This program will educate the community on what TCU does now, which isn’t much – but it certainly is a stepping stone to more awareness on campus and better practices in the future,” said Ellen Schwaller, AV education chair.

Housekeepers at residence halls and designated officials within certain departments will keep count of how many recycling bags they take out, and AV will report TCU’s progress by the pound each week to RecycleMania, Banzhaf said. According to AV club members, participating departments have not yet been determined.

This year, the university will face twice the number of competitors as it did last year. More than 400 schools are entered nationwide, including SMU, Baylor and the University of Texas. Banzhaf said this competitive element will not distract her from the group’s overall goal.

“I just want us to do the best we can,” she said. “I would say our main goal is to raise awareness and to do better than we did last year.”

John Hernandez, manager of residential housekeeping, said recycling bags are made available to students year-round, but in the past two years he has noticed an increase in students’ willingness to recycle.

“This program has been a tremendous help in maintaining an overall awareness among students and faculty,” Hernandez said.