RecycleMania comes to Kent for the first time

Samantha Worgull

Dorms join national recycling competiton

To heighten awareness of the universiy’s waste management and recycling programs, Kent State residence halls have been participating in a recycling competition for the past four years. This spring, they decided to take the next step by launching into a national competition.


On Jan. 17, Kent State started competing in RecycleMania for the first time. RecycleMania is a friendly competition and benchmarking tool for college and universities to promote recycling programs, as explained on its Web site.



For the next 10 weeks, residence halls will be competing nationally with 500 other colleges and universities split into two divisions: competition and benchmark.


“This spring, we are participating in the Benchmark Division,” said Marijean Benedik, the assistant director of Residence Services. “We decided to get our feet wet first.”


The Benchmark Division is less formal and does not include rankings toward winning any categories. Benedik said by next spring, the competition will be campus wide with promotional help from other departments.


Kent State has applied much effort to the recycling movement for the past four years. Every October, students in the dormitories have participated in an energy conservation competition and every November in a recycling competition.


Last semester, Ashley Falkowski, sophomore visual communication and design major, participated in the competitions.


“I find competitions like this to be important, especially within our wasteful society,” Falkowski said. “It may just be one small step, but at least it’s something.”


Participating in RecycleMania is an effort Benedik hopes will get the word out.


“We want to make sure we include everybody,” she said.


Each residence hall has recycling bins throughout. Since Portage County is a single-stream recycler, all students have to do is throw away what they know is recyclable.


“We don’t want it to be a hassle,” Benedik said. “We want students to be able to drop it and go.”


Benedik said at the end of each week, Portage County recycling trucks come and collect the recycled waste where it is then separated by hand at the Portage County Recycling Center. The collected waste gets weighed and numbers get turned in to Melanie Knowles, manager of sustainability at Kent State, Benedik said.


According to, there are five different categories RecycleMania holds competition for: The Grand Champion, Stephen K. Gaski Per Capita Classic, Waste Minimization, Gorilla Prize and Targeted Materials.


“With newer students coming in who are well-informed about recycling, we wanted to see how we faired this semester in the categories,” Benedik said.


With the first two weeks as trial weeks, Residence Services plans to get the word out.


“We’re learning as we go what makes it easier for students to participate,” Benedik said.


RecycleMania was started in February 2001 by Ed Newman and Stacy Edmonds Wheeler.


Contact room and board reporter Samantha Worgull at [email protected].