The Homecomings Weekend clash between the University of Virginia Cavaliers and the University of North Carolina Tar Heels will not be Saturday’s only contest in Scott Stadium. Student volunteers also will be defending U.Va.’s ranking in the “Game Day Challenge,” a national competition among colleges and universities to divert and reduce waste at home football games.
The annual contest is sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WasteWise program, the nonprofit organization Keep America Beautiful and the College and University Recycling Coalition. It is designed to promote waste reduction and increase awareness of waste-reduction programs. This year, 88 schools are participating.
U.Va.’s Department of Athletics, U.Va. Sustainability and U.Va. Dining are again partnering in this competition, in which the University has participated since 2010. Last year, U.Va.’s recycling efforts placed fifth in the nation and first in the Atlantic Coast Conference. It also finished second nationally and first in the ACC in greenhouse gas reduction category.
“We’re excited to be working with the largest group of volunteers we have ever had,” said Nina Morris, outreach and engagement program manager with U.Va.’s Office for Sustainability. “One hundred volunteers will be dispatched throughout the tailgating areas and in Scott Stadium to help fans recycle. The volunteers will be collecting compost from the concession stands as well as from ‘Pancakes for Parkinson’s’ and other spirit-building events prior to the game.”
All season, U.Va. Sustainability has been promoting a goal of “zero waste” from the suites inside Scott Stadium, which means diverting at least 90 percent of the waste away from landfills. Plates and utensils used in the boxes are compostable, and volunteers sort through the compost after the game to remove any contaminants. More than four tons of compost has been diverted from the suites thus far this season, Morris said.
“By diverting as much material away from landfills as possible, U.Va. reduces our environmental impact, avoids costs and gets to educate and engage the community on the benefits of composting and recycling,” she said. “We’re thrilled to have such a strong partnership with Athletics and Dining to make U.Va. a champion in the Game Day Challenge.”