Mason makes basketball sustainable

The Office of Sustainability hopes Mason can reduce refuse from basketball games
The Office of Sustainability hopes Mason can reduce refuse from basketball games

Striving to go green, the Office of Sustainability at Mason is raising awareness for green efforts on campus at a venue where trash seems to overflow: basketball games.

This Saturday’s basketball game against George Washington University will  host  an event called the Game Day Challenge.  It’s a competition between different universities to see who can properly recycle and compost the most during a single sporting event.

The Game Day Challenge is one category in a larger tournament known as Recycle Mania. The tournament host’s colleges from every state in the U.S.  plus universities in Canada, and this will be Mason’s first year entering into a category. Fellow Virginia universities like James Madison University, Virginia Commonwealth University and Old Dominion University are also competing in some aspect of Recycle Mania.

Hidden away on the far side of campus, the Office of Sustainability has been creating events and campaigns for the past seven years. At the start of the last fall semester, the staff helped  create the Innovation Food Forest project. Students known as Student Green Patriots challenged the university to increase sustainability measures in  categories such as dining and landscaping. They also  choreographed a flash mob in April  2013 for Earth Week.

The office has recruited roughly 50 volunteers to be at Saturday’s tailgate and around the stadium at “waste stations.” Their goal is show people how to properly dispose of trash and material as it’s happening. Once the game is over, the office will make sure everything is sorted properly, weigh everything and report the numbers to Recycle Mania.

Giulia Manno, a coordinator for the event and intern for the office, said one of the goals for the event was to “improve recycling in the Patriot Center in the future and show that it’s easy and they can implement it.”

In a trash audit before the event, the office found out during a game, there’s an average of .88 pounds of trash per person and only .02 pounds of recycling. “The goal is to send as little to the landfill as possible,” said Manno.

In an effort to spread the word during the game, the office has invested money in paraphernalia like t-shirts and chico bags, or reusable bags, to hand out during the game.

The Office of Sustainability won’t find out the results of the challenge until later in the spring, but if Mason places well, it could mean more annual green games.

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