EPA Gameday Challenge: 2014
On November 12, 2014 UMass Amherst participated in the EPA Game Day Challenge, a national collegiate competition where colleges and universities compete to reduce waste at football games and tailgates through implementing recycling and compost programs. The competition is run in partnership with the College and University Recycling Coalition (CURC), Recycle Mania, Keep America Beautiful (KAB), and the EPA WasteWise program. This year, over ninety colleges and universities across the country participated in the challenge.
Our effort at UMass Amherst was focused on collecting recyclables from the tailgate. The event required the coordination between multiple departments on campus including Sustainable UMass, Facilities and Campus Services, University Relations, the Eco-Rep Program, SGA, the Office of Waste Management, and Athletics.
We recruited over eighty student volunteers that walked through the tailgate while team leaders drove golf carts with recycling bins, all to encourage their peers to recycle. The students that attended the tailgate were receptive to recycling efforts because the bins were made readily accessible.
We collected 2,170 pounds of recyclables and UMass ranked second place nationally in both recycling per capita and greenhouse gas emissions reduction in our athletic conference (MAC). This was a great opportunity to engage the campus community and educate people on the importance of recycling. The success of the EPA Game Day Challenge has set the precedent for future years and demonstrates the University’s commitment to sustainability across multiple departments.
EPA Gameday Challenge: 2011
Winners were announced this month in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s "Game Day Challenge," and the UMass Amherst Campus Sustainability Initiative placed in the top 7 in every category for all NCAA Division I-FCS schools for excellence in organics reduction, recycling, greenhouse gas reduction, waste diversion and low waste generation at the game. The campus competed against scores of other teams across the country to raise awareness of recycling and reduce waste at college football games.
"All food, beverages, and containers sold at the game were either compostable or recyclable to reduce waste and littering," says Ezra Small, Campus Sustainability Manager. The event was a joint effort of the Physical Plant, Auxiliary Services, UMass Athletics and the Campus Sustainability Initiative. He says, "our campus recycling rates are very high compared to other schools and we’re proud of our sustainability efforts, but football games generally produce a lot of waste. This event was a great opportunity to educate the community and improve on our accomplishments."
"We had compost bins and at least two student volunteers all around McGuirk Alumni Stadium throughout the entire game helping the onlookers decide what bins to throw their waste into. Everything was compostable, including the food, plates, cups and napkins. By the time the band came onto the field at the end of the game, our trash bins were pretty much entirely empty!"
UMass Amherst placed 4th in the nation for the largest per capital organic waste reduction rate, 5th best recycling rate, 5th best reduction in per capita greenhouse gas emissions, 7th largest overall trash diversion from landfill (includes compost) rate and 7th lowest in per capita waste generation, ahead of such schools as Yale, Brown and Central Connecticut State.
The game-day event combined the EPA challenge with "America Recycles Day," usually celebrated on Nov. 15. A national program of Keep America Beautiful since 1997, it is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to promoting recycling in the United States.