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Nov. 18, 2011
Northwest Missouri State University’s Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity was crowned the winner of the first “Greeks Go Green” recycling competition as the University also unveiled an east side recycling drop-off site Tuesday, Nov. 15.
Located in Lot 21 on Ninth Street, the new drop-off site is designed to serve students and community members living near the east side of campus. The new site supplements Northwest’s main recycling drop-off site at its Pellet Plant, located west of campus on Country Club Road, as well as three other locations within the city limits as part of the recycling partnership Northwest launched with the city of Maryville earlier this year.
“Because our central location is on the other side of campus and there’s such a concentration of students on the east side, we thought it was a good chance to expand the program,” Sustainability Coordinator John Viau said. “It not only gives students a more convenient location, but it’s available to all the folks that come in on the east side of campus.”
The Greeks Go Green recycling competition, which began in conjunction with Northwest’s Oct. 22 Homecoming activities, encouraged Northwest fraternities to collect recyclable materials and deposit them at the Pellet Plant each Saturday morning. The materials were then weighed to determine which organization collected the most.
Sigma Phi Epsilon won the competition by bringing a total of 2,570 pounds to the recycling center. Collectively, the participating fraternities diverted more than 8,100 pounds from the landfill during the four-week competition.
In recognition of their efforts, Sigma Phi Epsilon was awarded a trophy made from a felled tree from the Missouri State Arboretum, located on the Northwest campus. The trophy’s inscription appears on a piece of discarded brass.
“We’re really happy that we were able to pull through and win, but it also feels good being able to help the campus and be involved,” said Sigma Phi Epsilon member Alex Witthar, a freshman business management major from Kansas City, Mo., who took charge of the fraternity’s recycling efforts. Witthar said the competition also motivated the fraternity to start its own recycling program.
Greeks Go Green was the first major event sponsored by Students Taking Action at Northwest for Developing Sustainability (S.T.A.N.D.S.), a new student organization working to increase recycling efforts and promote sustainability. Viau advises the student group, which hopes to make the Greeks Go Green competition an annual event.
The concept for the contest was developed by students in Northwest’s advanced public relations practicum course. Assistant Professor Dr. David Shadinger instructed the students to devise a campaign aimed at motivating students to be more involved in recycling and sustainability efforts.
Morgan Innes, a senior public relations major from Lee’s Summit, was part of the group that designed campaign. The project also opened Innes’s eyes to the impact of recycling, and she joined S.T.A.N.D.S. as a result. Innes said she is now committed to creating more awareness of recycling and sustainability efforts.
Innes admitted that prior to her research she was unaware Northwest saves about $800,000 per year by using alternative fuels sources such as wood chips, paper and waste pellets, or that the University uses recycled glass for sidewalk construction and winter street maintenance. Northwest put a glass crusher to use in 2010, and citywide glass collection has diverted more than eight tons of waste from the landfill so far this year.
“The facts I found out blew my mind,” Innes said. “I was ignorant to recycling and sustainability and that lifestyle, and it caught my attention. I think what really got me is it’s not hard, and I couldn’t understand why more people weren’t involved in it, so I decided I should be.”
Northwest’s sustainability office was established in January to enhance the University’s ongoing sustainability efforts. The office facilitates sustainability programs initiated by Northwest students and employees while working to identify materials and resources needed to supplement, expand, or replace existing sustainability programs.
For more information about sustainability at Northwest, click here.
Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager
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Northwest Missouri State University
215 Administration Building | 800 University Drive | Maryville, MO 64468