The football team may be taking on Columbia at the Bowl this weekend, but Saturday will provide Bulldog faithful with a chance to defeat their Ancient Eight rivals Harvard and Princeton — as well as more than 80 other schools — in a different type of competition — recycling.
Bulldog Sustainability, a coalition of athletic administrators and student athletes working to make Yale Athletics more eco-friendly, has entered Yale into a nationwide sustainability competition. Awards will be given out in five categories, assessed over the entire school year; the one that may concerns Eli fans most is that of recycled materials per capita, as last year’s champion in that category was Harvard.
In order to end Harvard’s recycling reign, the students at the head of Bulldog Sustainability’s go-green efforts, swimmer Ileana Lucos ’11 and field hockey player Erin Carter ’12 said they knew they branch further than the Yale Bowl stands. As a way to improve Yale’s recycled materials per capita, the waste from tailgates will be one of their primary targets.
Carter and her colleagues at Bulldog Sustainability are launching an assault on the Crimson’s domination via the tailgate, and are kicking that effort off with extra recycling bins and staff at Saturday morning’s pregame festivities.
“Most of the things people consume at the tailgate come in recyclable containers, but because people aren’t focused on it they just get thrown in the trash can,” Carter said. “We’re adding more recycling receptacles, and there will be people showing people where to throw what.”
Adding to the potential to increase Yale’s recycled material quantities this weekend is that Saturday is Yale employee weekend at the Bowl, an event Carter says will yield an estimated 1,500 extra attendees — and therefore recyclers — to fill the newly added recycling bins both inside and outside the bowl. Specially constructed composting stations will be manned by volunteers from S.T.E.P. and the Yale community. These 20 volunteers will also be present at the tailgates and in the Yale Bowl stands, Lucos said.
According to the Bulldog Sustainability’s official planning report for the event, the weight of all materials collected will be weighed and submitted on a competition-sanctioned form which takes count of several game-day recyclables including programs, cardboard, newspapers, plastic bottles, plastic cups, glass bottles and aluminum cans. Compostable materials, such as composted “pre- and post- consumer food waste” and “compostable dinnerware and napkins” will also be counted in the weight – making gameday staples of eating and drinking crucial components of an assault on Harvard’s sustainability prowess.
The event marks the kickoff to what the members of the Bulldog Sustainability committee hope will be a year of progress for Yale Athletics and its eco-friendliness. The group is hoping to establish a plan for recycling at all Yale athletic events — particularly the heavily-attended ones like football games — a plan that, until now, had not existed. The group is also hoping to get one sustainability goal from each athletic team, and they will be held to this commitment by a sign documenting each team’s proposed change in the Ray Tompkins House where the Yale coaches’ offices’ are housed. By the end of the year, the group hopes to make RTH itself a certified green workplace, too.
Lucos, Carter, and the rest of the members of Bulldog Sustainability hope Saturday’s tailgate and game will provide a big increase in recycled materials that will give Yale an early jump on their competition in this year’s sustainability showdown. Carter said the event provides a perfect chance for Elis to have fun, help the environment, and compete against Harvard.