Updates from Aquinas College about COVID-19 are at aquinas.edu/coronavirus.  Updates on our plan for Fall 2020 are at aquinas.edu/saintstogether.

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 Aquinas College competition of zero waste advocates 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 beat. 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. 

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 travelling 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! 

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.

AQ Race to Zero Waste: February 3- March 1, 2020
The AQ Race to Zero Waste is a friendly competition of zero waste advocates 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 beat. 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. Here are the final rankings. Congratulations to the Art and Music Center and Knape Hall!

Faculty/Staff Category:

  • Art and Music Center- 4 points
  • Albertus Hall- 3 points
  • Browne Center- 3 points
  • Hruby Hall- 2 points
  • Flannery Hall- 2 points
  • Jarecki/Lacks/Library- 2 points
  • Holmdene- 2 points
  • Sturrus/Alksnis- 2 points     
  • Academic Building- 1 point

Student Category:

  • Knape Hall- 3 points
  • Woodcock Hall- 3 points
  • Hruby Hall- 2 points
  • St. Catherine of Siena (Apartment C)- 1 point
  • Dominican Hall- 0 points
  • St. Joe's Hall- 0 points​

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