Eastern Kentucky University captured first place in the Game Day Basketball Waste Generation category within the national RecycleMania Tournament by diverting nearly 53 percent of all waste when the Colonels hosted Tennessee Tech in McBrayer Arena on Feb. 28.
EKU edged out schools such as Stanford University and Clemson University to take the top prize in a field of 390 colleges and universities in the nationwide tournament, which harnesses the competitive energy of sports rivalries to engage students in increasing recycling and waste reduction.
"For EKU to come out on top is a great credit to our student Green Ambassadors, our student body, and to our fans here in Colonel Country," said Dr. Alice Jones, director of EKU's Office of Sustainability.
In addition to the top Game Day prize, EKU placed fifth out of 29 participating schools competing in the medium division of the "3R Actions Challenge," leading rivals such as Northern Kentucky and Morehead State universities with a total of 438 actions. Eastern fans also had the opportunity through the "3R Actions Challenge" to take action, and they rose to the occasion by dominating the 104 participating schools with more than 100 actions recorded during a home basketball game.
The "3R Actions Challenge" is a new aspect of the RecyleMania competition that encourages students to not only take action by reducing, reusing and recycling (commonly referred to as "the three R's"), but also to share those actions via text, Twitter or a mobile app. Nearly 4,000 students from 104 schools shared more than 32,000 waste reduction or recycling actions during the tournament period.
EKU also participated in the eight-week competition in which schools are ranked according to how much recycling, trash and food waste they collect. Between the Feb. 1 kickoff and the final recycling weigh-in on March 28, competing schools recycled or composted 80.1 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials, preventing the release of 129,411 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCO2E) into the atmosphere, which is equivalent to preventing annual emissions from 25,375 cars.
Locally, EKU recycled more than 120,000 pounds (81,000 pounds alone of corrugated cardboard) during the course of the competition, preventing the release of 219 metric tons of MTCO2E into the atmosphere. Overall, Eastern ranked 167 out of 308 schools nationally to edge out such competitors as The Ohio State University, University of California-Davis and Northern Kentucky University.
"RecycleMania has been an integral part of our recycling program for seven years," said Randy Wilson, program coordinator for EKU Campus and Grounds. "To be recognized for recycling in the national competition shows our peers how important recycling is to our students, staff and faculty."
The RecycleMania program is managed by Keep America Beautiful, the nation's leading nonprofit that builds and sustains clean, green and beautifully vibrant communities. The competition is made possible with the sponsorship support of Alcoa Foundation and The Coca-Cola Company.
For complete results of all categories, visit recyclemania.org.