Student’s capstone project seeks to educate campus on recycling through Recyclemania tournament

SOU students (foreground) participate in Recycle Relay while Roxane Beigel-Coryell and Heather Kendall look on (background). photo: Muuqi Maxwell/The Siskiyou
SOU students (foreground) participate in Recycle Relay while Roxane Beigel-Coryell and Heather Kendall look on (background). photo: Muuqi Maxwell/The Siskiyou

Heather Kendall is excited about recycling, and she wants you to be too.

A senior studying environmental science at Southern Oregon University, Kendall decided her advocacy for protecting the environment would provide a strong foundation for an event-based capstone centered around Recyclemania, an international competition held to determine the most recycle-fit school.

“The reason I chose this was because I am passionate about educating people, and [recycling] is an easy way for people to contribute to our world,” said Kendall.

Recyclemania was created as a benchmark tool for colleges around the United States and Canada in 2001, and has since grown to include over 600 colleges and universities nationwide.

The event includes numerous challenges that take place over an 8-week period each spring. SOU will be competing in the amount of recycled goods per capita, where some schools will be rated on what their ratio of trash to recycled goods is. The winning school receives a trophy and national recognition in the form of a press release and display on their website.

In the summer of 2011, a student capstone project created the SOU Full Circle Recycling Program, which sorted out 38,000 pounds of commingled goods in 2012.

Before the Full Circle program, items that were recycled by students wouldn’t be separated before being picked up by Recology, the company that handles sanitation services for the university. If a recycling bin had too much trash in it, all of the items in the bin would go to the landfill.

Although the introduction of the Full Circle program helped to reduce the amount of recyclable items being sent to the landfill, students like Kendall still felt there was more that could be done, which is one of the reasons she chose to tackle on-campus recycling as her capstone.

“You don’t have to be an Environmental Science major to help the environment,” she said.

Recyclemania starts Feb. 3, and in order to better prepare SOU for the competition, Kendall will be hosting events from now until March 30 that will educate us on how to properly recycle. Kendall hopes the events will be engaging, fun and instructive; and in order to encourage participation, she will enter students who have attended four or more events in a raffle for $125 in gift certificates and merchandise.

Below are the Winter term events for Recyclemania:

Wednesday, Jan. 30: Resident Life Recycle Week – Greensprings, 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 1: Resident Life Recycle Week – Cascade 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 6: The Face of RecycleMania – Stevenson Union Lobby 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 20: Recycling Workshop – SU330, 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 27: Recycling-a-“Ball” – SU Lobby, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Wednesday, March 6: Recycling Jeopardy- SU Lobby, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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