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Otterbein University Competes for Campus Sustainability

Contests aim to increase recycling and
decrease energy usage on campus

February 1, 2012


Westerville, OH—Otterbein University is competing in two national contests for campus sustainability bragging rights. The first contest, Recyclemania, runs February 5 -  March 31. The second contest, Campus Conservation Nationals, runs February 19 - March 10.

This is Otterbein’s fourth year competing in Recyclemania, a friendly competition among college and university recycling programs in North America and Canada.

Since Otterbein began participating in Recyclemania in 2009, it has seen its performance improve annually. In 2009, Otterbein finished 235 of 293 schools, recycling 5.33 pounds per capita. In 2010, that number soared to 19.08 pound per capita, and Otterbein’s rank improved to 69 out of 346 schools. In 2011, Otterbein recycled 23.75 pounds per capita, and its rank climbed to 45 out of 393 schools. Otterbein’s Recyclemania coordinators expect to do even better in 2012.

"Participation in the University’s recycling program has grown every year since we began competing in Recyclemania. This is a reflection of Otterbein’s strong support for recycling and environmental stewardship," said Otterbein Sustainability Coordinator Paul Baldridge, who oversees Plan-It Earth, the student environmental group that sponsors the contest.

There is no cost for schools to participate in Recyclemania. The competition partners and sponsors include: Waste Wise (US EPA), College and University Recycling Coalition, Keep America Beautiful, SCA Tissue, The Coca-Cola Company, American Forest & Paper Association, Waste Management and Alcoa. Learn more about Recyclemania at www.recyclemania.org.

This year is Otterbein’s first year participating in the Campus Conservation Nationals, a nationwide electricity and water use reduction competition among colleges and universities created by The Center for Green Schools at the U.S. Green Building Council through its Students Program and in partnership with Lucid, Alliance to Save Energy and the National Wildlife Federation. A competition between three residential facilities at Otterbein will run Feb. 19 - March 10. Each of these facilities will be monitored using occupancy, square footage and kilo watt usage data. The three participating facilities have electric sub meters that can be read from a remote location using a web link. The meters will show peak demand and patterns of electricity usage. This type of information will be important as the University strives to promote energy conservation.

A key goal for the University is to raise student awareness on energy usage and to develop a standard for compiling, comparing and evaluating energy consumption data. Otterbein University continues to reduce energy consumption through lighting, office equipment and other improvements in building systems. The results from this contest will create baseline data for designing future facility improvements.

"This competition gives us an opportunity to evaluate electric usage while raising awareness and encouraging students to adopt sustainable behaviors that will have a significant impact on campus and in their communities," said Baldridge.

Learn more about the Campus Conservation Nationals at www.competetoreduce.org. Learn more about Otterbein’s Sustainability Studies major and Environmental Studies minor at www.otterbein.edu/environmentalstudies.

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