Western Herald – Residence halls compete to reduce waste in new Ecothon contest

Residence halls compete to reduce waste in new Ecothon contest

Christina Cantero
News Reporter

After ten years of competing in Recycle Mania, WMU is no longer participating in the nationwide recycling competition.

Residence Halls will compete to see who can reduce the most waste this month. Christina Cantero/Western Herald

Instead, the Office of Sustainability and Residence Life chose to mainly focus on Ecothon, an intercampus waste reduction competition.

Ecothon has a goal of encouraging energy and waste reduction on campus by having the different residence halls compete for a winning prize of $500.

“Last year we managed to recycle 6,514 pounds of waste,” said Laura Darrah, assistant director of Resdience Life, who also helped plan Ecothon when it first started four years ago.

The competition runs throughout the entire month of February, and engages students to become more aware of both waste and energy reduction.

“In addition to the competitions, we offer educational outreach for students,” said Darrah. “We teach students how to make their own water filters by using rocks and sand instead of buying.”

Ecothon is divided into four different categories: Energy Reduction, Recycling, Staff Programming and the Ecothon Overall Winner.

The $500 that the overall winner receives must be used towards a sustainability project, such as motion-sensor lights or a water dehydration station.

The overall winner varies each year. Last year Henry Hall won this category, and the year before Draper/Siedschlag hall took the prize of $500.

Another reason for why WMU is not participating in Recycle Mania this year is because of the Office of Sustainability has been occupied with a major shift in how recycling bins are emptied on campus.

“After 20 years of students doing it, the job is now up to the custodians,” said Carolyn Noack, manager of Waste Reduction Services at WMU.

Efforts to eliminate recycling bins from classrooms to hallways have been in place to assure that emptying the binds will not increase the workload for the custodians.

What is your residence hall doing to participate in Ecothon?

Contact 616-405-7265

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