#WastED campaign wins national RecycleMania award for composting education

By Pam Gorsuch on July 6, 2017

Student-led effort helped the campus differentiate recyclable and compostable items

Student volunteers staff the #WastED education table in Cook Library in Spring 2017.
Student volunteers staff the #WastED education table in Cook Library in Spring 2017.

Towson University's #WastED campaign has earned a national RecycleMania Case Study Competition Education & Awareness Award for its innovative approach to helping students identify recyclable and compostable items on campus. The competition recognizes schools' creative and impactful sustainability efforts.

The #WastED (waste education) campaign involved six tabling events during the Spring 2017 term. At the tables, student volunteers engaged their peers in games and trivia contests that shared information about campus waste. One game used custom cornhole boards labeled to match campus waste receptacles. Contestants matched often-misplaced waste items to the correct board in order to win a prize.

“This campaign was all about making waste education fun,” said Campus Sustainability Manager Patricia Watson. “The games and trivia prizes were effective tools for sharing information, reinforcing sustainable behaviors and committing students to making positive change.”

In addition to the games and trivia contests, students were asked to sign pledges to specific forms of waste reduction, like composting Starbucks cups or using fewer single-use landfill items like straws and lids. At the end of the two-month campaign more than 500 pledges had been signed. The campaign’s custom Snapchat geofilter garnered nearly 17,000 engagements.

The #WastED campaign was led by student employees in the Office of Sustainability and the Office of Civic Engagement and Social Responsibility. MBA student Daniela Beall ’14 and business student Kelly Zindel ’17 helped to create the events and recruited and trained student volunteers to run them.

More than 320 colleges and universities participated in the 2017 RecycleMania Competition. Other case study winners included Purdue University, St. John’s University and Stanford University.

For more information on campus sustainability and the Eco-Reps volunteer program, visit the Office of Sustainability and Office of Civic Engagement & Social Responsibility websites. 

This story is one of several related to President Kim Schatzel's priorities for Towson University: Strategic Plan Alignment.