A recent competition challenged SUNY Canton students to “Roo-cycle” by donating their used belongings in addition to sorting out their waste.
Faculty and staff from the Green Campus Committee set up collections at each of the four residence halls for used clothing, electronics, and the traditional cardboard and mixed recyclables.
“Several members of our committee designed the competition as a way to increase awareness about recycling at the student level,” said Matthew J. Burnett, an assistant professor in the graphic and multimedia design program and Green Campus Committee chair. “We’re creating a culture of sustainability. Certainly it helps us as a college to be more eco-minded, but we want our students to continue these practices after they graduate.”
The recently completed “Roo-cycle” competition collected about 2,900 redeemable recyclables, raising a total of $145 for the student-run Habitat for Humanity club. It also drew together about 580 clothing and shoe donations and more than 40 books.
Amidst bags of clear and green tinted bottles stood a box with a photograph of two children wearing plastic bags on their feet taped to the side. Marquise Paillere, a Liberal Studies major, snapped the photo just after the earthquakes hit her home in Haiti. Paillere was stranded in Port-au-Prince at the beginning of the semester and has championed a local portion of the international drive to help people in her home country by collecting used shoes.
“Once students found out the clothing was going to St. Vincent de Paul Society, and the shoes were going to Haiti, they became even more inspired to pitch in,” said Joanne Fassinger, the College’s grants coordinator. “They began using the competition as a way to donate rather than just discard.”
Volunteers tabulated the total recycled by each residence and eager students looked on waiting to see who won the good-natured challenge. Heritage residence hall won the total competition by using word of mouth communication, according to Courtney B. Bish, Director of Residence life.
“Students stood by the front doors of their residences to tell everyone coming and going about the competition,” Bish said. “They even went door-to-door. Students became more involved because their pride was on the line. They wanted to win the challenge.”
The students in Heritage will be treated to a pizza party for their enthusiastic recycling efforts. The Kangaroo, nicknamed the Roo, presented representatives from the residence with the award at a student activities event. Plans are underway for another “Roo-cycle” competition.
SUNY Canton also participated in RecycleMania, an international competition for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities on their campus communities. Last year, the College reduced its total waste by approximately 21 percent.
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