Campus goes crazy for recycling

RecycleMania hits Chico State

TAKING ACTION<br>Adele Pfister (left) and Dana Fernbach are helping organize RecycleMania on the Chico State campus.

Adele Pfister (left) and Dana Fernbach are helping organize RecycleMania on the Chico State campus.

Photo By Katie Booth

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Chico State is back in session this week, and Adele Pfister is hoping to light a fire under students and get them practicing what so many are already preaching: The Three R’s (reducing, reusing and recycling.)

To do that, she is helping organize a 10-week-long international collegiate competition.

“The goal is just to get people recycling,” said Pfister, an instructional design technology major, who’s also the recycling education coordinator with the Associated Students.

RecycleMania 2009 pits college and university recycling programs in various competitions to see who can collect the largest amount of recyclables, including plastic, glass, aluminum, steel and paper, and produce the least amount of trash.

The annual recycling event began in 2001 with students at Ohio University and Miami University who thought a competition would be a good way to “infect” the students, faculty and staff of their schools with recycling mania. Over the years, the competition has gained momentum and now involves 509 schools.

Chico State has already garnered a reputation for having a superb recycling program, Pfister said. In the 2007-08 academic year, for instance, the university recycled 540,000 pounds. She noted that representatives from other campuses, including University of the Pacific, have visited Chico to get tips on how to improve their own programs.

“You’d be surprised how many campuses in California don’t have a recycling program,” said Pfister, who pointed out that Chico State’s program is run entirely by students.

While the competition is international, Chico State mostly focuses on its standings within California. Last year, the campus placed second out of 10 California campuses by collecting 7.2 cumulative pounds of corrugated cardboard per student. It also placed fifth out of nine in the grand-champion category in California, according to the AS Recycling Program.

Winning “maniacs” will get a trophy made out of recycled material. But for those involved in the AS Recycling program, education is more important than any prize or prestige, Pfister said.

“For us, the point is not winning,” she said. “It’s about getting people really excited about being sustainable and helping the environment.”