Bridget Fogarty

While Miami University has consistently ranked high on RecycleMania’s nationwide university recycling challenge, it could boost its score with changes in the competition this year.

In the past, the competition only measured the weight of recycled material in residence and dining halls. For 2009, however, the competition will be open to the entire campus, including academic buildings and the Shriver Center, environmental education coordinator Alicia Glover said.

“We are trying to make it a more even competition, that’s what we are hoping to achieve by doing this,” Glover said. “Last year there were a bunch of different categories so this year we are trying to make it more mainstream.”

The 10-week-long competition will also now offer two different divisions, with a new benchmark division set aside for schools new to the competition.

Glover said these schools will be able to get a feel for how they are going to measure recycling within the university. They can also submit their recycled weight and compare it to the other participating schools to see where they would stand if they had been a part of the other, more competitive division.

What started out in 2001 as a recycling competition between Miami and Ohio University, RecycleMania has now grown into a nationwide competition. In 2008, more than 400 schools participated. This year, Glover said there is a record high of 510 schools participating in a contest that began Jan. 18.

“(RecycleMania) is supposed to create an excitement and awareness of recycling for college students and it makes it more fun by making it into a competition,” Glover said.

Mary Claire Kilmer-Lipinski, a junior communications major, said she will be participating in RecycleMania this year.

“After doing my research project on recycling on campus last semester, I know that it lacks in a lot of areas and it needs help after the financial deficit, so I’ll do my part to help,” Kilmer-Lipinski said. “It’s really important that we all pitch in and recycle because it’s a good cause that’s not only going to help out our economy but more importantly, our environment.”

Miami was the first university to win the competition against Ohio University in 2001, Glover said.

Since then, Miami won again in 2004 and 2005. In 2008, Miami ranked 3rd in the competition and has remained in the top five finishers every other year, according to Glover.

The winning school receives a traveling trophy, but there is no prize other than pride. Although it’s not set in stone, there are talks that this year’s winning school will be announced at the Final Four Basketball game, Glover added.