FDU’s Green Day, in mid-April, is not the only time the College at Florham is thinking about sustainability through recycling. RecycleMania, a benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs, started Jan. 17 and will continue through March 27.
The year 2010 will mark FDU’s fourth year being involved in RecycleMania, which has been running since 2001, according to Joel Harmon, professor of management and executive director of Silberman College’s Institute for Sustainable Enterprise. Harmon has been helping to fund and coordinate RecycleMania since day one.
“It began with FDU’s Institute for Sustainable Enterprise (ISE), and one of its associated faculty, Christine Farias, helping to launch the Green Club, with Christine as its first faculty advisor,” Harmon said. The Green Club, he said, has been the catalyst for the first participation in RecycleMania.
Amber Charlebois, a chemistry professor, has been the lead RecycleMania coordinator since 2009.
“Ultimately, we hope that the RecycleMania experience on campus will increase the awareness of what can be recycled and to have everyone on campus just stop and think when you are about to throw something away, ‘Can this be recycled?’” said Charlebois.
It is easy for students, faculty or staff to participate in RecyleMania, they simply need to recycle. The friendly competition happens over a 10-week period where schools report recycling and trash data, which are then ranked according to who collects the largest amount of recyclables per capita, the largest amount of total recyclables, the least amount of trash per capita, or have the highest recycling rate.
With each week’s reports and rankings, the schools watch how their results fluctuate against other schools and use this to rally their campus communities to reduce and recycle more.
According to Charlebois, in 2001, there were only two schools competing. This year, there are over 600 schools participating, including 12 from New Jersey.
There are three different ways to win the RecycleMania competition. Overall, FDU competes against other colleges for an overall highest number of pounds of recyclables per person.
Within the College at Florham residence halls, the dorm with the highest value of pound of recyclables per person while at the same time having the lowest value of pounds of garbage per person will be awarded a pizza party. Additional prizes, she added, will be awarded to students and staff on campus that are “caught green handed,” or going above and beyond typical recycling efforts.
Last year, there was a rumor that the company that removes the trash and the recyclables from the campus were putting everything into the same trash container. This rumor, Charlebois said, was partially true. This year, however, FDU changed contracts with the waste removal company to include a more complete separation of the trash and recyclables.
Other efforts FDU has made include the purchasing of hundreds of new recycling bins, which have been placed all around the College at Florham campus. If students or faculty see a place that still needs a bin, they can call Facilities to request bins.
Another effort that senior Brianna Logan has successfully championed is the donations of aluminum cans that are recycled by the Florham Park Fire Department. “On all floors in Park Ave. and Rutherford, there are large cardboard bins around the recycling areas. These bins are designated for aluminum cans only,” Logan said. All proceeds from the cans are given directly to the burned children’s unit of St. Barnabas in Livingston. Last year, FDU donated approximately 5,000 cans.
To get in the spirit of RecyleMania and become more aware about sustainability, the Sustainable Campus Committee (SCC), headed up by Provost Kenneth Greene, developed recycling quizzes. The quizzes were developed to make learning about the rules of recycling a fun and competitive process, said Charlebois. The quizzes can be found in the Student Center information desk and in the Mansion. There will be two winners, one student and one faculty/staff, chosen from entries that correctly answer all ten questions by Feb. 17 deadline. The prize, a $75 gift certificate for the bookstore or $75 added to your Fairleigh 1 account, will be announced the following week.
Overall, FDU hopes the program will teach students, while being able to keep the campus green. “We not only hope to greatly increase the percent of waste that we recycle but also to expand recycling and many other ecologically responsible practices all year round throughout our campus operations and courses,” said Harmon.