Northwest State Community College was first out of more than 400 colleges and universities in one category of Recyclmania, a nationwide competition.
NSCC was tops in the “waste minimization” category, turning in the lowest amount of trash thrown away for every student, faculty member, and staff member in the preceding 10 weeks.
The college was eighth in nation for the Recyclmania overall grand prize.
NSCC recycled about 10,000 pounds of materials, ranging from paper to plastic bottles and aluminum cans.
Ed Singer, an NSCC faculty member and president of the college Education For Sustainability, or E4S, Group, said one of the events held in connection with the competition was a dumpster dive.
Approximately two and a half days of garbage from the college was spread on the floor of the atrium. Students and faculty members sorted through the trash, culling material that could be recycled.
“It was a visual representation of how we are recycling,” Singer said.
Along with E4S is a student group, Students for Sustainability, or S4S.
Natalee Bramel, S4S president, said students are volunteering to go from room to room at NSCC collecting recyclable materials from bids.
Singer said he had heard many comments about the students involved in the recycling program.
“It just lifts the morale,” at the college, he said.
Bramel said more and more of those at NSCC are thinking about recycling. She said she’s observed the recycling bins are filling quicker than in the past.
There also are organic gardens at the college, tended by students.
Sustainability is the changing of society so that its activities can be sustained into the future. It involves everything from shopping locally to energy conservation.
Singer said sustainability is too big an issue one discipline, such as engineering, can tackle alone.
The goal, he said, is to create Northwest State as an example of a sustainable institution that can become a model and center for community outreach.