By Leigh Ann Henry
The Baylor sustainability department received a national award on April 15 for recycling efforts implemented at home football games.
The National Wildlife Federation’s Chill Out: Climate Action on Campus involved schools from all over the nation.
The competition breaks down into six categories. Baylor entered and won Green Sporting events and Programs.
Through the 2010 football season, Baylor tripled the amount of recycled materials from 2009, which made for 6.5 tons of waste diverted from landfills.
Smith Getterman, sustainability coordinator at Baylor, said the sustainability department is still growing and he wasn’t expecting to win, but wanted to enter so people will know what Baylor is doing.
“This is the first time we’ve entered the competition. We saw it as an opportunity for us to enter the discussion on a national level with some of these other schools that people see as leading sustainability schools and get them to recognize that we are, if not there already, on our way,” Getterman said.
The competition requires the production of a video detailing campus recycling efforts.
Arlington junior Christine Lau created the video, which can be viewed on the National Wildlife Federation’s website, www.nwf.org.
“I went in to the video not knowing what the result was going to be. It was just for kicks,” Lau said. “It shows that we’re on board with going green and that even a smaller student body can make an impact even on a national level.”
Tom Hill, senior associate athletic director, said recycling at athletic events isn’t new.
“We have had a recycling program for several years, but it wasn’t until Smith Getterman got on board that we were able to record and track our results. He has renewed and re-energized the cause,” Hill said.
Getterman praised team effort between the sustainability department and the athletic department.
“This is a priority for the athletic department as we realize it’s a very recognizable department that plays a great role in terms of leadership,” Ian McCaw, athletics director, said.
Floyd Casey Stadium boasts more than 160 recycling receptacles.
McCaw said the recycling effort has migrated to other athletic events as well, including basketball and several others.
“God’s been very gracious to us and this is one way for us to be good stewards of our resources,” Hill said.
Paula Young, director of operations in the athletic department and also a member of the Baylor sustainability committee, serves as the liaison between the athletic and sustainability departments at Baylor.
Young said student volunteers often position themselves near the recycling receptacles at the stadium in order to encourage and educate patrons on proper recycling.
“Even when people want to recycle, their efforts can be diminished. For instance, if trash gets mixed in with the recyclables or there is liquid left in a cup it can make them unusable. The volunteers make sure that what’s recycled is recyclable,” Hill said.
The teamwork between both of these departments has been successful in the last year, as the award proves.
“It is gratifying to show support of recycling in the Baylor nation and encourage fans to participate in the initiative,” McCaw said. “We’re glad to play a small role in the overall success of this program.”