Forever Green
Campaign for Northwest
Menu & Search
Bearcats Going Green President Madi Nolte (center) presents a first place trophy to members of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity after they collected the most recyclable material of any student organization during Homecoming week. Bearcats Going Green also planted a tree in the fraternity's honor. (Photo by Amanda Wistuba/Northwest Missouri State University)

Bearcats Going Green President Madi Nolte (center) presents a first place trophy to members of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity after they collected the most recyclable material of any student organization during Homecoming week. Bearcats Going Green also planted a tree in the fraternity's honor. (Photo by Amanda Wistuba/Northwest Missouri State University)

Nov. 15, 2019

Tree added to Arboretum in honor of fraternity’s recycling efforts


Northwest Missouri State University added a Cherokee Princess Dogwood tree to its collection Friday in honor of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity collecting more recycled materials than any other student organization during the University’s Homecoming week.

Bearcats Going Green, which organized the contest, gathered the fraternity’s members Friday afternoon, for a tree-planting ceremony at the Dogwood’s new location southeast of the B.D. Owens Library. The tree is the first of its kind to be planted on the Northwest campus, which is the home of the Missouri Arboretum.

Additionally, the fraternity received a trophy crafted from the wood of an oak tree removed from the campus grounds after the 2007 ice storm that damaged more than 40 percent of the trees at Northwest.

Delta Sigma Phi won the contest by recycling 1,370 pounds of materials, which it collected from tailgating areas after Northwest’s Oct. 26 Homecoming football game. The fraternity men pick up waste from tailgating areas after each home football game to earn volunteer hours.  

“We've cleaned the lot for years now,” Delta Sigma Phi President James Erlbacher, a junior agricultural education major from Harlan, Iowa said. “When we heard about the contest, we decided to recycle instead of just throwing it all away. It really opened our eyes to how much we throw away.”

Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity placed second in the contest by collecting 1,335 pounds of materials to be recycled.

Bearcats Going Green is a Northwest student organization whose objective is to educate students and raise awareness of recycling on the campus while providing a student voice to sustainability issues at the University. The group, in coordination with the Homecoming Committee, encouraged other student organizations to recycle the materials they used for their Homecoming parade entries rather than discarding them with other trash.

“The goal of the whole thing was to promote recycling on campus since it kind of goes unknown by a lot of students,” Bearcats Going Green President Madi Nolte said. “We thought that by getting them out to the Pellet Plant for their drop-offs throughout the contest, it would be an educational experience for everybody.”

Northwest Sustainability Coordinator John Viau said he was pleased with students’ efforts during the contest and hopes the students’ awareness and interest for recycling continues.

“Sometimes it takes different motivations, and I think these guys had a great idea – to get fraternities and sororities and people that are interested enough to participate in Homecoming,” Viau said. “They have a competitive spirit, they want to be involved, and I think Madi and Bearcats Going Green did an outstanding job tapping into that.”

About the Missouri Arboretum

The Northwest campus, which is home to more than 1,700 trees and more than 150 species cultivated from throughout the world, received designation in 1993 from the Missouri legislature as the state’s arboretum. The Northwest campus also is one of just 86 arboretums in the world to attain Level II accreditation, through the ArbNet Arboretum Accreditation Program, for achieving standards and professional practices in tree care. Additionally, it maintains a designation as a Tree Campus USA by the Arbor Day Foundation.

Last year, two trees in the University’s collection received recognition from the Missouri Department of Conservation as the largest trees of their kind in the state. An Overcup Oak measuring 64 feet tall with a 76-foot spread was named the state champion, and an American yellowwood, measuring 40 feet tall with a 53-foot spread, is a co-state champion. Both are located between the Owens Library and the Garrett-Strong Science Building.

To learn more about the Missouri Arboretum, visit www.nwmissouri.edu/arboretum/.


Media contact:

Mark Hornickel, Communication Manager | mhorn@nwmissouri.edu | 660.562.1704