UMass Amherst has won first- and second-place honors in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) 2015 Game Day Challenge, which promotes waste reduction at football games through friendly competition among colleges and universities.
UMass Amherst placed first in the category of Green House Gas (GHG) Reduction and second in the Recycling category within its conference.
This season the University recycled a total of 18,693 pounds of material from the three games played at Warren P. McGuirk Alumni Stadium. The first place in GHG Reduction and second place in Recycling were specifically from efforts made at tailgating during the Nov. 21 game.
Michael Dufresne, campus manager of waste collection, explains that the Game Day Challenge is a part of how UMass Amherst addresses waste. “The challenge is one way multiple departments can come together and address a complex problem,” he says.
The EPA Game Day Challenge is supported by multiple departments including: Facilities and Campus Services, University Relations, the Eco-Rep Program, Student Government Association, the Office of Waste Management, Residential Life, and Athletics.
Ezra Small, campus sustainability manager, notes that students take the lead in the challenge. “From conception to promotion to site logistics, students coordinate every aspect of our recycling efforts at our McGuirk home games,” he says. “This initiative is a fantastic collaboration between our secretary of sustainability in the Student Government Association, our eco-rep managers, and our sustainability waste management and grounds staff.”
The Eco-Rep Program is a student-centered educational program that trains undergraduates to foster environmental literacy in the campus community and translates that new understanding into more environmentally friendly behavior.
UMass Amherst has placed in the EPA Game Day Challenge before. Within its conference the University ranked second in both the Green House Gas Reduction and Recycling categories in 2014. The University also placed in the top seven in its conference in all categories for excellence in organics reduction, recycling, greenhouse gas reduction, waste diversion and low waste generation at a game in 2011.
UMass Amherst has a robust recycling program that composts 1,400 tons of food waste per year. The campus has a variety of recycling and waste reduction initiatives that include the New2U Reuse Collection and Tag Sale, the Green Office program, Minute Rider Program, zero-waste targeted events, as well as a electronic waste collection program. Along with initiatives, students have access to over 300 courses as well as co-curricular activities relating to sustainability.