The Office of Sustainability has initiated a program that selects an Eco-Rep for each residence hall in an effort to
increase awareness of sustainability programs on campus.
Students who apply to be Eco-Reps will work with the residents in their building and encourage them to participate
in the annual Eco-Olympics during the spring semester, said junior Casey Schmidt, an intern with the Office of Sustainability and one of the organizers of the Eco-Rep program. During the fall semester, Eco-Reps will have biweekly
training sessions to learn about University of Richmond’s sustainability goals, programs already established on campus and how to motivate students to reduce, reuse and recycle, Schmidt said.
“Because it is the pilot year of the program, all dorms may not have an Eco-Rep,” said Megan Litke, sustainability manager for the university. “But the Office of Sustainability will try to reach dorms equally with the applicants we
receive,” she said.
While the application deadline was Sept. 11, Litke said, the office will continue to accept applications from students
who are interested. As of the deadline, the Office of Sustainability had received applications to cover three residence
halls, she said.
The Eco-Olympics include Recyclemania and the Campus ConseRVAtion Nationals competition, Litke said. Recyclemania
is an eight-week-long national competition that tracks the recycling of a college campus, as well as its reduction of electricity and water usage, she said. Campus ConseRVAtion Nationals is a competition within the city of Richmond against Virginia Commonwealth University that tracks the recycling and consumption rates of residence halls, Litke said. This will be the university’s fourth year competing in the threeweek- long competition, which VCU won last
year, she said.
Participation in the Eco-Olympics competitions has dropped over the last few years, Schmidt said. “By having Eco-Reps to inform and motivate residents, as well as set up fun events to increase awareness of sustainability, we hope to get participation back up,” she said.
A recent change that will help the university in these competitions is the switch from single-stream recycling to dual-stream recycling, Litke said.
With dual-stream recycling, bottles and cans can be collected in the same recycling bins, she said.
Dual-stream recycling also expands the range of plastic products that can be recycled, Schmidt said. In previous years, the university could only recycle plastics with a “1” or “2” recycling number, she said, but with the new system,
plastics labeled “1” through “7” can be recycled.
Contact Collegian Reporter Mia Webber at firstname.lastname@example.org