Recycling comes as second nature to Kaitlin Emig, which is why she brought the idea of entering the RecycleMania competition to Earth We Are after participating in the program when she was in college.
"The program is a great push in the right direction," Emig, coordinator of service-learning and volunteering, said. "One of the many reasons it is such a good program is because it is a competition to educate on the importance and awareness of recycling. Also, it is a competition putting us against other schools that have the same goals, to recycle and of course to try to win."
RecycleMania is a program opened internationally to all secondary institutions that meet the listed qualifications. This year there are 497 schools registered for the competition.
"Earth We Are heard about the program and the Sustainability Committee decided to take it on," Assistant Professor of Biology Randy Miller said. "It is nice to have a national format to add structure and to see how others are doing. People look for ways to help the planet and recycling is an easy way to do so."
Since this is a new way to encourage the amount recycled on campus, EWA President Justine Greve is glad to take on the challenge.
"It is a competition among colleges to increase recycling, while decreasing the amount of trash," Greve said.
Results for the contest are determined by weekly reports of the weight of all recycled goods and trash sent in by schools over a 10-week time span, which began Jan. 18. Since this will be Baker's first year in the competition, EWA is looking at the 2009 competition as a learning experience.
"This year, we are just basically trying it for the learning experience by sending in weekly reports," Miller said. "Right now, it is just prestigious enough to be on the list."
Students and staff can join the cause by continuing to use the existing recycling system and taking the few extra steps to go to a recycling bin.
Also, those who are living off-campus and in greek houses are encouraged to help by recycling as well.
"With the program we are hoping to find a sustainable way to keep Baker green," Miller said. "We may not be saving the world, but we are at least saving a small part."