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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:

Campus Race to Zero Waste (Formally known as RecycleMania) 2021: January 31, 2021 - March 27, 2021
The Campus Race to Zero Waste is a friendly 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. 

AQ Race to Zero Waste: 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


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

Recent Competitions:

Tip the Scale: A Waste Diversion Competition: August 24 - September 27, 2020
St. Joe, Regina East, and Regina West competed to have the highest total diversion rate during the Tip the Scale Competition. St. Joe won for the second time since the competition started in 2015 and has the honor of holding the student traveling sustainability trophy this fall. St. Joe finished with a cumulative waste diversion rate of 48.7%. Regina East finished second at 40.1% and Regina West finished last at 27.4%. During the competition, all three areas diverted over 2,500 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: Megan B. organized a resident competition to see who could come up with the best ideas for implementing sustainability in their apartment.
  • 2nd: Hannah L. created two sustainability-themed bulletin boards, including The Giving Tree and Waste Sorting. 
  • 3rd: Rebecca B. organized a program called “Repurpose for the Holidays” where residents used toilet paper rolls to make holiday decorations. 

RecycleMania 2020: February 2 - March 28, 2020
We ranked 12th in the nation in the Diversion category of the waste competition called RecycleMania. We finished 1st in the nation in the smaller campus division of the zero waste category. This was Aquinas’ 12th year competing. For more information on RecycleMania, visit their website.

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