Students participate in recycling competition at Huskie Stadium

By Lindsey Rodriguez

NIU accepted the challenge to go green at Wednesday’s home football game.

Several organizations from NIU are participating in the Environment Protection Agency’s (EPA) national “Game Day Challenge,” which took place during the football game against Toledo.

This friendly competition occurs once a year and aims to see which school can recycle the most at its home football games.

Green Paws is up for the challenge to not only win the competition, but also promote and educate the student body on the necessity of recycling.

Sarah Wawerski, senior environmental studies major and undergraduate recycling coordinator, believes more people should volunteer.

“The more diverse of people creates more success and ability to reach out,” Wawerski said. “Alpha Sigma Alpha is also involved.”

Aside from educating NIU on the basic recyclables (cans, plastics, tins, metals), the students also informed participants on the don’ts of recycling, which include not recycling anything with food on it.

Melissa Burlingame, the co-ordinater of the Green Paw volunteers, said Green Paws has been working since Nov. 15, 2011, to inform students of tips to become a snazzy recycler.

“An easier way is to commingle, which is putting everything in a compactor and not separating it,” Burlingame said. “Just make sure no food or liquid is on it.”

In the midst of this environmental knowledge comes the competition/collaboration aspect of the challenge, which is a main strategy for this team.

“We will continue to work with athletics and the grounds department [suppliers of recycling bins] to improve recycling for future events,” Wawerski said. “All volunteers try to incorporate school pride and improve numbers from last year. Fourteen percent of all our materials were recycled from the challenge last year.”

Senior education major Christina O’Neill, another volunteer, described her sincere desire to help outside of the competition: “I just asked what I could do to help and I have been coming back ever since.”