Our countdown to Earth Day continues this week, and our focus shifts from hospitality to the university sector. Universities are gaining influence in the growing world of green, and for good reason. All of our future decision makers are graduating from these places of higher learning, and the more involved they are with energy conservation and climate change, the brighter our future looks. Not only that, but universities know to attract the best and brightest, and a strong understanding of green practices is a much higher priority.
With Earth Day two weeks away, schools have been increasing their participation levels both at the student and institutional level. At the University of Rhode Island (URI), for example, the Student Action for Sustainability has organized a program around Earth Day that goes beyond the typical campus fare of vendors, live events and informative sessions. To promote recycling, all members of the URI community are encouraged to nominate “Rhody Recyclers of the Day”. Students, faculty and staff have been asked to nominate those on campus who demonstrate any level of commitment to the act of recycling. Along with recognition of their deed, those selected will have their name entered into a drawing for an Amazon Kindle. An improved environment should be incentive enough for recycling, but it never hurts to be given a chance to win a free eReader if you’re seen doing so.
Promoting greener behavior through individual acknowledgement is wonderful, but sometimes involving a whole community ofstudents results in higher turnout. Four colleges in Michigan are well aware of this – they’re competing with each other for the title of greenest school. Students at Baker College, the University of Michigan-Flint, Kettering University and Mott Community College – each one in the Flint, Michigan area – will compete again this year in the ‘Recycling Challenge,’ sponsored by Waste Management Inc. and Genesee County Metropolitan Planning Commission. Prize money is split by the school that recycles the most by weight and by pounds per student enrolled. The schools competed through the end of March, and later this week a winner will be announced.
Later this week we’ll speak with a member of ‘Students for a Sustainable Stanford’, a unique program that provides incoming students with better than average furniture, and outgoing students with a responsible way to dispose of old furniture – so watch this space!
Whether it’s through individual accolades, school competition or general educational sessions, we’re thrilled to see schools stepping up by doing more to expand their involvement before, during and after Earth Day to make the environment a year round focus.