Oct 14, 2010
By Alyse Lamparyk
The stakes have been raised for this Saturday’s Homecoming football game.
Not only will fans cheer on the Bobcats, they also will be taking part in Game Day Challenge, a national competition for colleges and universities to promote waste reduction at their football games.
Through Game Day Challenge, more than 90 schools will implement waste reduction programs during a self-selected home football game in October. Schools will track and report recycling and waste data that will then be used to rank the schools. The Environmental Protection Agency will announce the winning schools in November.
As an initiative of the EPA’s WasteWise program, Game Day Challenge was first introduced as a pilot program last fall. Out of eight schools, Ohio University placed second in diverting waste, one of the five categories that were judged.
“Last year we beat some pretty prestigious football programs,” said Ed Newman, recycling and refuse manager at OHIO.
Launched this fall, the EPA’s official Game Day Challenge program is modeled after RecycleMania, a national inter-collegiate recycling competition, which Newman co-founded in 2001.
At last week’s football match-up against Bowling Green, OHIO conducted a test run in preparation for Game Day Challenge. According to Newman, the University recovered nearly 75 percent of the waste from that game.
“I challenge anyone in the nation to do better than that,” he said.
Newman admitted that OHIO is being confident by entering the competition with its Homecoming football game – a game that historically generates a large amount of waste. But he expressed faith in the system, OHIO staff and the many volunteers working to keep Game Day Challenge waste to a minimum.
“We try to distribute as many opportunities to recycle as possible,” Newman said.
The work begins with the student and alumni tailgates prior to game, where the Green and White Club works alongside the Grounds Department to reduce waste by screening the trash for recoverable materials.
Recycling efforts will continue inside the stadium. Composting will also be pushed this year with bins near the kitchens and concession areas.
Newman stressed that these types of efforts have become routine at OHIO’s athletic events and are not simply being done for the competition.
“We’re not just trying to strut our stuff superficially,” he said. “Now we’re going after the tougher things.”
On Sunday, Boy Scout Troop #357 will help clean up the stadium. Additionally, a majority of the materials from the Homecoming parade will be recycled.
Newman said he hopes the culmination of efforts will result in a zero waste event – one that helps to cement Ohio University’s reputation as an environmentally-friendly campus.