Grand Valley State University took second place in the waste minimization category of the national Game Day Challenge competition, out-placing universities such as Harvard and Ohio State.
The competition, which included nearly 90 universities and colleges this year, aims to promote waste reduction at football games throughout the country.
During the game against Michigan Tech University October 5, students and staff members were stationed throughout high-traffic areas in Lubbers Stadium to encourage people to compost or recycle their trash.
The efforts to make the games a zero-waste environment extended beyond the competition. During all seven home football games, more than 144 students and staff members volunteered to compost and recycle 4,000 pounds of trash, which saved about 71 percent of the waste stream from going to a landfill.
Last year, Grand Valley scored among the top 20 overall and placed first among Division II and III schools in the organic reduction category. Steve Leeser, operations supervisor for Facilities Services, said a big advantage this year was making every home game a zero-waste challenge. “By the time we reached the actual day of the event, we were well-rehearsed,” he said.
Sponsoring organizations included the Student Environmental Coalition, Farm Club, Alternative Breaks, Student Nursing Association, Center for Inquiry, English Society and the Greek Council, with support from Campus Dining, Office of Student Life, Athletics and Facilities Services.
Tim Selgo, director of Athletics, said: “We congratulate the students who made this happen with their efforts and energy in their work to achieve zero waste at our games. Every Laker can be proud of these students in finishing second in the country for waste minimization.”
Leeser said the zero-waste concept will take place in the concession area at Laker basketball games.
The challenge had five categories, including waste minimization, diversion rate, greenhouse gas reduction, recycling, and organics reduction. For more information about the challenge, visit www.gamedaychallenge.org.
For more information about Grand Valley’s sustainability efforts, visit www.gvsu.edu/sustainability.