Each year, when game day rolls around, the Tech campus buzzes with not only numerous fans and tailgaters, but also numerous fans’ and tailgaters’ trash. The Office of Solid Waste Management and Recycling is planning another year of reducing game day waste with the launch of this year’s season of Georgia Tech Game Day Recycling.
“[Tech] is getting ahead of the game with recycling,” said Cindy Jackson, Georgia Tech Recycling Program Manager.
Game Day Recycling is a program through which individual students, as well as large campus organizations, volunteer to help encourage recycling at Tech football games. The program’s founders established the initiative to divert the large amounts of solid waste generated at games away from landfills.
“I didn’t have the opportunity to do this type of thing in high school, so I was excited to try it out now,” said Alessandria Palazzolo, a first-year HTS major volunteering through her sorority.
Volunteers participate by helping to distribute recycling bags to the tailgaters, collecting trash from incoming fans, and encouraging recycling during breaks in the game, such as halftime.
“It is all about student involvement,” said Maria Linderoth, Program Coordinator.
“We want to make recycling a normal part of the football and tailgating experience. When students are grilling or meeting friends, recycling should also be a part of that,” Linderoth said.
Gameday recycling is a program that has reached out to student organizations, as well as to students with a goal of becoming more environmentally aware.
“I enjoy football, and I like to help the environment. There are all kinds of festivals made just to be green but this [game day recycling] makes an everyday thing more environmentally friendly,” said Molly McLaughlin, fifth-year CHEM major.
“We want recycling ingrained into the whole experience. If you’re tailgating at Georgia Tech, you’re recycling,” Jackson said.
Some student organizations on campus have taken the initiative to become highly involved in the program. The Greek Community, the Sustainability Task Force of the Student Government Association (SGA), the Environmental Alliance and Students Organizing for Sustainability are all major contributors.
“I think it’s an easy way to get involved and a great environment to be in. You are already going to the game, so it is a great way to give back for a hour,” said Keaton Belli, member of Students Organizing for Sustainability and EAS graduate student.
Internally, each student organization encourages its members to help recycle during the game. Students set goals for their organization and raise excitement about volunteering.
“We have a huge turnout from the Greek community. They work within themselves at chapter meetings to generate excitement about recycling,” Linderoth said.
As Tech students help to make the campus green, they are also leaning something about being environmentally aware.
“[The recycling program] is about education. We are making the people that come onto our campus not only respect it, but become more educated about keeping it green. You are coming onto a campus, where we work, where we live and where we play,” Jackson said.
“Georgia Tech enables every person to recycle, and to become more environmentally responsible,” said Tomas Leon, co-chair of SGA’s Sustainability Task Force and a third-year EnvE major.
“Through the education we are reminding people to not throw so much away, and to bring reusable items,” Jackson said.
There are numerous other ways for students to recycle on campus. Residence halls are equipped with 40-quart recycling containers that can be emptied at one of the 14 outdoor recycling sites. Campus buildings also have recycling bins for every material from paper and plastic to fluorescent bulbs and electronic waste.