Ecolympics provides University community the ‘ultimate green challenge’
Published: Thursday, October 11, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 11, 2012 08:10
West Virginia University’s ultimate green challenge is underway.
Ecolympics is an annual, month-long challenge for WVU students, staff and faculty to win prizes and make a difference.
"This challenge encourages different campus buildings to see who can recycle the most," said Stephanie Toothman, operations coordinator for Facilities Management Recycling Services.
The challenge hosts a variety of recycling and conservation events for the WVU community, including an environmental research seminar or simply visiting the Morgantown Farmers’ Market.
The residence hall with the most student participation at the end of the month will win entertainment equipment worth $3,000, and the campus building with the most participation will award its employees with a two-hour work release luncheon.
New to Ecolympics this year is the potential to win the challenge on an individual level.
"Individuals can compete and receive points for the events that they participate in. We are keeping a binder for students, faculty and teachers to sign off on to show that they participated in the event," Toothman said.
Each event is worth at least five points, and the individual with the most points at the end of the challenge will win a green-themed gift package.
Wednesday, participants attended an e-cycling event that took place at the Coliseum. Competitors brought their own personal electronics to be recycled, including old computers, printers, stereos and microwaves.
WECAN collaborated with P.C. Renewal, a Morgantown company that specializes in recycling old technology.
P.C. Renewal properly recycled all the equipment that was brought to the event.
Typically, there is a fee to recycle these types of technology, but the WVU Office of Sustainability covered the cost to recycle these items to promote the effort.
"There are two major aspects of Ecolympics. It is educating and building awareness on sustainable energy by bringing the community together, and it helps waste to be managed more effectively," said Clement Solomon, director of sustainability.
Toothman said in previous years WVU has been ranked as high as 18th in the nation among green campuses.
"It is a challenge, but every year we see more participation, more interest, and we continue to grow."
Ecolympics began at WVU in 2007 and each year, it has had increasing success, Toothman said.
"The whole purpose of Ecolympics is to raise awareness of sustainability and help students make good decisions to help their economy, environment and lifestyle," said Traci Liebig, WVU conservation specialist.
Liebig, who has contributed to planning the Ecolympics since it first began, said she believes students are getting better and better at recycling efforts.
"Many students come from a place where there is a more established form of recycling, so they’re used to it, and that really makes a difference," she said.
In an effort to help Morgantown become increasingly green-friendly, the city will be implementing a new single-stream recycling system within the next year.
The single-stream system will allow residents to mix recyclables and take them out to the street, rather than sorting by material.
"We have Ecolympics because it is an opportunity for the WVU community to learn about easy and quick ways to be more green," Toothman said. "From energy to conservation, it is important to do our part."
For more information, including a complete schedule of events, visit http://wecan.wvu.edu/ecolympics.