Campus competes in green contest

Florida A&M University has joined more than 500 colleges and universities in RecycleMania, a competition to encourage waste reduction activities on campus. 

Over a 10-week period ending March 28, campuses across the country will compete to see which institution can collect the largest amount of recyclables per capita (per student), the largest amount of total recyclables and the least amount of trash per capita (per student).

There will also be a competition for the highest recycling rate. 

Last year, FAMU completed the benchmark portion and was able to establish a baseline for how many recyclables are generated on campus.

Since then, many changes have affected those figures.

For example, FAMU has added larger Dumpsters and recycling collection points on campus and has removed recycling collection points altogether.

FAMU is awaiting a comprehensive recycling report from the City of Tallahassee and Marpan Supply to better determine overall figures.

Ryan Mitchell leads RecycleMania, a senior environmental health and safety specialist at FAMU. Many faculty and staff have praised Mitchell’s efforts in making recycling on campus more accessible.

“Mitchell has a drive and passion for the environment and has provided recycling stations all over campus,” said Pamela Tolson, director of media relations at FAMU.

Mitchell said the campus effort to recycle more positively reflects the university.

“The response by our students, staff and administrators has been overwhelming,” Mitchell said. “The dormitory residents have also shown an eagerness to contribute to the Rattler Recycle Program and have been collecting their recyclables with a near-zero percent contamination rate.”

The FAMU Environment and Sustainability Council have given RecycleMania its approval.

“The ESC supports our efforts in RecycleMania since it provides an avenue for Rattlers to exercise environmentally responsible behavior in a friendly competition,” Mitchell said. “This also helps the University’s bottom line because the reduction in weights and tipping fees at the landfill translate to reduced disposal costs.”

Although program leaders and RecyleMania participants said they are excited about the new recycling efforts, many students as well as administrators are outraged with the lack of recycling resources on campus.

“I think recycling on campus is atrocious because as administrators, we waste tons of paper every day,” said Tyra Mason, assistant director of the Pathway to Law Program on campus.  “We are killing way too many trees at FAMU. We need to get recycle bins on campus also, we don’t have unlimited recourses and are not active in recycling.”

Some students on campus said they never heard about ReycleMania, and does not believe FAMU participates enough to make FAMU an environmental friendly place.

“I have never seen any recycling stations on campus and didn’t even know we had stations available to us,” said Akaiba Cummings 25, a senior English student from Monticello, Fla.

Several student organizations help or have helped promote RecycleMania and recycling on campus. Most noteworthy are the FAMU Green Coalition, the Environmental Sciences Student Organization, the Caribbean Student Association and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.

For more information on RecyleMania please contact Ryan Mitchell at 850-599-8108 or visit the RecycleMania Web site to view FAMU’s progress in the competition at