University scores second in national zero-waste challenge


GVSU students help compost and recycle materials at a home football game. Courtesy GVSU

A local university won bragging rights recently when it took second place in the national Game Day Challenge in the waste minimization category.

Grand Valley State University won the honor and competed among nearly 90 universities and colleges in this year’s Game Day Challenge, which aims to promote waste reduction at football games throughout the country.

4,000 pounds of trash

GVSU said that during its game against Michigan Tech University this fall, students and staff members were stationed throughout high-traffic areas in Lubbers Stadium to encourage fans to compost or recycle their trash.

The school didn’t stop there, however.

During all seven home football games, more than 140 students and staff members volunteered to compost and recycle 4,000 pounds of trash.

GVSU said that volunteer efforts saved more than 70 percent of the waste stream from entering landfills.

“We congratulate the students who made this happen with their efforts and energy in their work to achieve zero waste at our games,” said Tim Selgo, GVSU’s director of athletics. “Every Laker can be proud of these students in finishing second in the country for waste minimization.”

Last year, GVSU scored among the top 20 overall and placed first among Division II and III schools in the organic reduction category.

This year’s competition included five categories: waste minimization, diversion rate, greenhouse gas reduction, recycling and organics reduction.

In total, the Game Day Challenge diverted nearly 1.46 million pounds of waste from football games, which prevented the equivalent of more than 1,980 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being released.

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