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Sustainability | Web Update

2013 Eco-Olympics promotes recycling and conservation

Published: February 13, 2013, 12:24 am ET
Collegian Reporter

The spring 2013 Eco-Olympics, a dynamic sustainability initiative designed to reduce both energy consumption and waste production on campus, began at the University of Richmond Monday, Feb. 3.

UR Green Building Council student leader, Patrick Love, said that the Eco-Olympics was a two-part campaign consisting of separate, nationwide programs, Campus Conservation Nationals and RecycleMania.

Campus Conservation Nationals has historically been a fall semester event, Love said, but was moved to the spring and combined with RecycleMania during the 2010-2011 school year.

This year brings more exciting changes to the Campus Conservation Nationals part of the campaign, said Love. “We’ve just transitioned to an intramural competition between the University of Richmond and VCU,” Love said. Known in the past as Dorm Wars, the competition only involved housing at UR. The event is now titled Campus ConseRVAtion Nationals, reflecting the addition of VCU students.

Love hopes that the expanded competition and friendly rivalry between the two schools will increase student awareness and generate campus-wide participation.

UR’s Sustainability Coordinator Megan Litke cooperated with VCU’s Office of Sustainability to make this year’s competition possible. “Richmond has participated for three years now, but this is VCU’s first year, and we thought a little cross-school rivalry would be fun,” Litke said.

Litke, who hopes that the revamped competition will become an annual event, said she was excited to reach a new group of students that could not only learn how to decrease its electricity use on campus, but could also start thinking about electricity in a different way.

According to the University of Richmond’s Sustainability webpage, residence halls at both schools compete against each other for three weeks to see which can reduce electricity use by the highest percentage.

The University Forest Apartments will compete in a separate competition to observe which block can reduce electricity consumption the most, Love said.

Students can use the online building Dashboard system, accessible from the University of Richmond’s Sustainability webpage, to track both schools in real time and view the overall standing of each residence hall and apartment block in the competition, Love said. The Dashboard system also allows students to monitor their specific building’s progress while providing tips for how to continue to reduce energy consumption, according to the University of Richmond’s Sustainability webpage.

“At the end of the competition, we’re going to have a ceremony where the losing school presents the winning school with a trophy that they get to hold on to and display on their campus,” said Litke.

RecycleMania, the other half of the Eco-Olympics, takes place from Feb. 3 to March 30 and is an effort to reduce waste production on campuses, as well as a benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs, according to its webpage.

Although RecycleMania and Campus ConseRVAtion Nationals share a start-date, Litke urged students not to forget that they operate on different timelines. “RecycleMania lasts much longer than Campus ConseRVAtion Nationals; we’re still competing after spring break,” she said.

For more information and a detailed calendar of upcoming events, visit the University of Richmond’s Sustainability webpage.

Contact reporter Rachel Oplinger at rachel.oplinger@richmond.edu

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