Rogers State University has won the top prize in a nationwide recycling challenge by increasing its recycling efforts more than any other participating college or university.
RSU was named the first prize winner of the 2015 PepsiCo Campus Recycling Challenge on Dec. 14. For its efforts, the university will receive $5,000 to fund sustainability initiatives on campus.
Dr. Brent Marsh, RSU’s Vice President for Student Affairs, said the win highlights the university’s commitment to increasing sustainable energy practices on its campuses.
“I’m very proud of our students and the campus community for making recycling a priority at RSU, and appreciate the individuals who re-focused our efforts on this program,” Marsh said. “I’m looking forward to finding new ways that we can increase sustainability on campus.”
Additional winners included second place winner Pittsburg State University in Pittsburg, Kansas; third place winner Joliet Junior College in Joliet, Illinois; and fourth place winner University of South Alabama in Mobile, Alabama.
More than 65 colleges and universities participated in the recycling challenge, held from Oct. 1 through Dec. 10. Participating schools were encouraged to recycle more than they had the previous year and were ranked according to rate of increase. RSU achieved a 16,559 percent increase in campus recycling during the course of the challenge.
RSU has participated in the PepsiCo Recycling program since November 2010. RSU has 72 recycling bins on its campuses and one Dream Machine kiosk, a computerized receptacle with a built-in rewards system, on the Claremore campus. Since joining, the school has recycled a total of 177,667 bottles and cans, adding up to 8,355 pounds of recycled materials.
In addition to its recycling efforts, RSU has also worked to reduce its energy consumption on all campuses by installing and maintaining energy efficient mechanical systems. The university has also encouraged students, faculty and staff to develop energy saving habits. Since these efforts began in 2006, the school has saved millions of dollars in energy costs.