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Sustainability Initiative at Aquinas College

Zero Waste Events & Competitions

Students picking up things and sorting waste
Students play a recycling relay game at Rock the Block, one of many Zero Waste Events. Each team had to correctly sort their bucket of waste into either recycling, composting,or trash. The winners were awarded candy!
Two students standing by trash, recycle, and compost bins
Zero Waste volunteers, Carly Dew and Ana Cujar, watch over the recycle, compost, and trash bins at Rock the Block. They helped event attendees properly dispose of their waste.

Current /Upcoming Competitions:

Upcoming Competitions: 

Campus Race to Zero Waste (Formally known as RecycleMania): January 30, 2022 - March 26, 2022
The Campus Race to Zero Waste is a friendly national competition and benchmarking tool for college and university recycling programs to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities. Over an eight-week period in February and March, colleges report recycling, composting, and trash weights, to be ranked against participating colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada. Aquinas finished 5th in the diversion category for the 2021 competition!

Recent Competitions: 

Tip the Scale Waste Competition (Spring Edition): January 31 – February 27, 2022
The Spring Semester version of the Tip the Scale Waste Competition is a friendly competition of all buildings on campus. Aquinas faculty, staff, and students are fighting to prove that their building is THE zero waste champion to beat! There is both a student category and a faculty/staff category, with the champion in each category winning the traveling sustainability trophy. Each participating building is working to beat its average (cumulative) diversion rate to date, earning a point each week that the percentage is beaten. The building with the highest number of points at the end of the competition wins!! In the event of a tie, the building with the highest percent change receives preference. For 2022, the Art and Music Center won the Faculty/Staff category and St. Martin de Porres won the Student category. This year’s competition had a tremendous impact, with Aquinas diverting 11,945 pounds of waste from the landfill through composting and recycling. Of the 24 competing buildings, 12 buildings successfully beat their average waste diversion rate. 

Tip the Scale: A Waste Diversion Competition (Fall Edition): August 30 - September 26, 2021
Aquinas Residence Halls, Theme Houses, and Campus Apartments went head to head to have the highest total diversion rate during the Tip the Scale Competition in September. Sr. Mildred Hawkins took first place (with a cumulative waste diversion rate of 81.2%) and has the honor of holding the student traveling sustainability trophy this fall. Hruby Hall finished second at 75.6% and Willowbrook finished third at 71.9%. During the competition, the residential areas diverted over 2,600 pounds of waste through our compost and recycling collections. Way to go! RA's also competed to put on the best educational program during the fall semester. Here are the winners: 

  • 1st: Leah A. organized a program called "What's UpCycle", where her residents made reusable bags out of old t-shirts and discussed sustainability in the textile industry. 
  • 2nd: Nick K and Hannah L. organized a program at the community garden, where residents learned about how to start a garden, the basics of organic gardening, and even planted fall seeds!

AQ Race to Zero Waste 2021: February 1- February 28, 2021
The AQ Race to Zero Waste is a friendly competition of Aquinas faculty, staff, and students fighting to prove that their building is THE zero waste champion to beat! There is both a student category and a faculty/staff category, with the champion in each category winning the traveling sustainability trophy. Each participating building is working to beat its average (cumulative) diversion rate to date, earning a point each week that the percentage is beaten. The building with the highest number of points at the end of the competition wins!! In the event of a tie, the building with the highest percent change receives preference. The Cook Carriage House won the Faculty/Staff Category and Hruby Hall won the student category. Here are the final rankings: 

Faculty/Staff Category: 

Building Diversion Rate to Beat Competition Diversion Rate Points Earned  Rank  
Cook Carriage House 68% 74% 4 1
Academic Building 54% 53% 2 2
AMC 45% 39% 2 3
Donnelly 62% 80% 1 4
Holmdene 72% 69% 1 5
CSO 89% 84% 1 6
JLH 67% 60% 1 7
Sturrus/Alksnis  41% 34% 0 8
Albertus Hall 62% 47% 0 9
Wege  64% 49% 0 10

Student Category: 

Building Diversion Rate to Beat Cumulative Diversion Rate Points Earned  Rank 
Hruby 76% 81% 4 1
Willowbrook  60% 72% 2 2
Meijer 5% 6% 2 3

Regina

30% 29% 2 4
St. Martin 28% 27% 2 5
Sr. Hawkins 59% 29% 2 6
Bartolome 18% 20% 1 7
St. Rose 25% 24% 1 8
Eberhard 36% 26% 1 9
Knape 37% 13% 1 10
St. Joe 40% 34% 0 11
St. Catherine 28% 20% 0 12
M. Euphrasia 24% 15% 0 13
Woodcock 8% 5% 0 14

Hosting a Zero Waste Event

Are you hosting an event and would like to get involved in the Zero Waste Initiative? Here are some action steps you can take to make your event a success!

  • Contact a Zero Waste Advocate for planning assistance
  • Request additional recycling and composting bins
  • Reduce paper use
  • Work with vendors to request use of compostable and recyclable products
  • Advertise "Zero Waste" and request volunteers
    >More Information (pdf)
    >Resources for Vendors (pdf)
  • Download our zero waste educational PowerPoint and play the file at your event. >Download