Mount Mercy celebrates sustainability through campus-wide initiatives

As a campus that celebrates and cherishes its mission to foster environmentally-conscious individuals, Mount Mercy continues to go green through a variety of earth-friendly campaigns. The campus is currently competing to be the greenest campus in the nation through the RecycleMania challenge, in which colleges and universities across the country participate over an eight-week period to see which campus is able to decrease the amount of waste and recycle the most material.

Every week of competition, colleges report the amount of recycling and garbage that has been collected. The campus with the least amount of waste over the eight-week period is declared the winner. Mount Mercy earned second place among more than 200 colleges and universities competing in the waste minimization category for corrugated cardboard during the national RecycleMania challenge in 2011.

Mount Mercy encourages sustainability year-round with events, environmentally-minded curriculum and special guest lecturers geared toward environmental issues. . Maintaining a green environment is an important element of Mount Mercy's mission, as sustainability is one of the critical concerns of the Sisters of Mercy.

Assistant Dean of Adult Accelerated Programs and Chair of the Sustainability Task Force Colette Atkins said RecycleMania is an exciting time as campuses across the country compete to reduce waste.

"We get to highlight what we have been doing well for so long – appreciating the earth and all its inhabitants. RecycleMania is one way for us to measure how we are doing in fulfilling this appreciation, and showcasing our deep-seated dedication to such an important issue," Atkins said.

To promote RecycleMania efforts and increase awareness and campus excitement, Mount Mercy is hosting several on-campus events and competitions, including a Facebook contest which celebrates "Go Green Thursdays" and encourages the campus to wear green. Students are also throwing special events such as a sculpture-building contest – with each residential floor competing in a timed attempt at making the best sculpture out of recyclables.

Ben Wood, a senior communication major and president of the GREEN Outdoor Recreation Club, has been coordinating "green" efforts on campus and recognizes the important role events like Go Green Thursday play in raising students' awareness.

"I've heard a lot of students talking about RecycleMania more this year," Wood said. "It's the little things that serve as reminders to recycle, reduce and reuse."

Mount Mercy will continue its efforts in promoting a sustainable campus long after the RecycleMania competition ends. The campus will welcome special guest speaker Dr. Gary Machlis, professor of conservation at the University of Idaho and science advisor to the National Park Service, during a unique lecture on the human impact on the environment during warfare. To read more about this upcoming lecture, click here.

For more information on sustainability at Mount Mercy, follow the university's sustainability Twitter page at GreenMMU.

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