Kent State to take part in recycling competition

Nick Glunt

When Michelle Knowles came to Kent State as the new sustainability manager last year, she found that student interest in green tactics was largely weak.

At other universities, she said, she would see a dozen or so organizations devoted to sustainability, recycling and going green. At Kent State, however, she saw “maybe three, some more active than others.”

Since Knowles has joined the staff, she said involvement has been steadily increasing, but she hopes more interest will come.

In an effort to spread sustainability interest among students, Kent State is to participate in the RecycleMania competition once again this year. This time, however, Kent State will be competing against other universities.

In past years, Kent State residence halls competed against other residence halls to see who could reduce, reuse and recycle the most goods.

The 2011 competition begins in January and is expanding to include all buildings on campus. As a result, Knowles is searching for students to undertake liaison responsibilities in each building.

RecycleMania lasts 10 weeks from January to March. Previous competitions lasted only a month.

“Competing longer helps people get more into the habit of recycling,” Knowles said in a press release, “and the more likely they are to keep those habits.”

Kent State scored in the top 21 percent of 346 universities that competed last year, even though it was not involved in the national competition.

Knowles works closely with her team of graduate assistants Megan Petroski and Brian Vick to spawn interest among students.

“A lot of things we do, students ask for,” Petroski said.

She said she recently went on a tour of the Art Building and Taylor Hall to find places to place more recycling bins per student request.

Knowles is also taking suggestions for other programs and initiatives.

“It’s kind of a fad,” Petroski said, “but I think it’s a fad that’s going to stick around. Lots of people are interested in the greener lifestyle and we want to educate them.”

Contact administration reporter Nick Glunt at [email protected]