UCSB will undergo a green makeover this winter during the ninth annual RecycleMania competition.
The 10-week-long nationwide contest includes over 400 universities and is designed to increase recycling participation by students, faculty and staff around campus. The Associated Students Recycling Program and UCSB Sustainability are spearheading the on-campus effort and are seeking to promote recycling programs and lower waste generated at UCSB. The competition runs from Jan. 18 to March 28.
A.S. Recycling Program coordinator Ryan Kintz said the contest winners will be awarded a trophy and be announced at halftime of the NCAA Final Four basketball tournament on April 4.
“This is the first time UCSB is participating, so it’s really exciting,” Kintz said. “I think we have a great chance of winning. Last year we had a 65 percent diversion rate, which means we recycled 65 percent of all the waste produced on campus in 2007-08. The Office of the President has mandated that we reach 75 percent by 2012 and 100 percent by 2020. So the goal of RecycleMania is to reach these goals, and of course, to win.”
UCSB will be competing in five categories with an emphasis in the targeted materials category, which includes paper, corrugated cardboard, bottles, cans and food service organics, Kintz said.
Coupled with the kickoff of the contest, A.S. Recycling and A.S. Program Board will host an 8:30 p.m., zero-waste concert at The Hub on Jan. 24. The event will feature live music by Soul Majestic, Other Nature and Boombox Orchestra.
“Environmental groups will be tabling at the concert, the beer garden will be open, stuff like that,” Kintz said. “The concert is the first event of many. We contacted a bunch of student groups and asked them to put on two events for one week of the 10-week competition, anything from beach cleanup to build your own recycling bag. The whole campus is involved.”
Upcoming events include a sustainability fundraiser at Giovanni’s Pizza, film showings and a Recycled Notebook-Making Day.
Gahl Shottan, an A.S. Recycling student coordinator, said the competition is a great way to be recognized for reducing the campus’s carbon footprint, but noted that waste reduction should be a year-round effort.
“We have scheduled 25 events throughout January, February and March to let the campus know we can be sustainable in many different ways,” Shottan said, a fourth-year anthropology and psychology major. “We’re doing the RecycleMania events to get the campus more informed about what they’re consuming and how they’re consuming it.”
Meanwhile, Adrienne Gembala, a second-year environmental studies and psychology major, said RecycleMania offers UCSB an opportunity to advocate for sustainable practices.
“We are UC Santa Barbara, and we need to be leaders in the recycling movement because people will actually listen to what we have to say,” Gembala said. “With global warming being such a prominent issue right now, this is a small step that our campus can take to set a good example to other campuses, that students can take matters into their own hands.”