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Campus Sustainability Contests

Are you up to the challenge?

Welcome to iSEE’s landing page for campuswide contests and challenges! Each year, we host month-long opportunities for students, faculty, and staff to incorporate eco-conscious practices into daily life, compete with peers to win prizes, and share helpful hints with our amazing sustainability community here at U of I. More than anything, we hope that our participants can take the time to learn, self-reflect, and turn short-term goals into lifelong behaviors.

Check back in for current contest information, the most recent updates, and information about how to keep in touch. 

Ongoing: Don’t Waste!

Athletics, F&S, Housing/Dining, the Illini Union, iSEE, and others are partnering with Coca-Cola on a campaign to keep plastic and metal drink containers from the waste stream on our campus!

Among the many things Coca-Cola is providing are 60 new portable side-by-side receptacles for recyclables and landfill. They will be used at all major events on campus.

Major “Don’t Waste” events in Fall 2022:

  • Coca-Cola and all partners worked together in August during the massive New Student Welcome Event on and around Grange Grove after Convocation.
  • Coke, Athletics, F&S, and iSEE partnered for a Zero Waste Basketball Game on Nov. 14, at the State Farm Center in honor of America Recycles Day on Nov. 15 — at which more than 280 pounds of beverage containers and other recyclables were diverted from the landfill! The hope is to make an increased number of athletic events zero waste moving forward after an excellent first event (see video above!).

Additionally, digital sign boards around campus will remind the community to use the proper bins, and the embedded QR code leads directly to the latest on all recycling efforts and bin locations: go.illinois.edu/recycling!

Spread the Word!

There are plenty of ways to keep in touch:

Past Campus Sustainability Challenges

October 2022: Plastic Reduction Challenge

 

October 2022: Plastic Reduction Challenge

 

Introduction

So much plastic is thrown away each year that putting it all together creates enough material to circle the Earth four times. Ouch. More than 99 percent of plastics come from chemicals derived from fossil fuels (petrochemicals), and only about 9 percent of plastic is recycled for reuse. Approximately 500,000 straws are thrown away each day. It is estimated that each American generates 185 pounds of plastic each year. Have you heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? Nearly 600 million pounds of plastic fill our oceans, draining from our fresh bodies of water — which we contribute to here in the Midwest!

These are frightening statistics! How much of what’s listed above do you think comes from single-use plastics, or items that individuals use and throw away every day? Luckily, you came across this challenge! YOU have the power to change these statistics for the better. 

 

Your Actions Matter

Thank you for taking the first step to living a more plastic-free lifestyle and being conscious of your plastic consumption. You are helping combat climate change by reducing the demand for fossil fuels and pollution from landfills; your actions make a difference by reducing the amount of plastic that ends up in our streets, landfills, and bodies of water.

Together, we can make a difference!

 

How to participate

As part of Sustainability Month this October, iSEE is starting a campuswide plastic reduction challenge.

Sign up today using this form >>>

By registering to participate, you will receive a weekly grid to fill out with both positive and negative actions you can take in your daily life. A points system will be used for you to keep track of your plastic usage and the steps you take to reduce that usage. The goal is to earn as many points as possible — and you can certainly add points for positive actions.

At the end of each week, upload your grid and reflection to a Google Form.

Week 1 form >>>

Week 2 form >>>

Week 3 form >>>

Week 4 form >>>

 

More information

See and download the weekly fillable grid >>>

To find all our resources — including weekly plastic reduction tips — visit our Box folder >>>

ONGOING: Facilities & Services "Use the Bin" Pledge

Ongoing: Use the Bin Pledge

 

Introduction

At the large scale, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign campus recycles five major commodities: paper, cardboard, aluminum cans, plastic bottles #1 and #2, and scrap metal.

 

Your Actions Matter

Facilities & Services Waste Management coordinates recycling at the campus level — and for the whole system to work, we need everyone to use the recycling bins and support the Illinois Climate Action Plan! 

Together, we can make a difference!

 

How to Participate

Take 10 seconds to take the pledge! Simple as that! Show you care, Illini. 

PLEDGE FORM >>>

Water Reduction Challenge — April 2022

April 2022: Water Reduction Challenge

 

Introduction

Thank you for taking the first step to be more conscious of your water use. Your actions matter. You are helping to combat climate change and to reduce needless water use in your daily life — and certain actions you take can conserve this precious resource even further! We have the power to make a change.

 

How to participate

As part of Earth Month this April, iSEE is starting a campuswide water reduction challenge.

Sign up today using this form >>>

By registering to participate, you will receive a weekly grid to fill out with both positive and negative actions you can take in your daily life. A point system will be used for you to keep track of your water. The goal is to earn as many points as possible — and you can certainly add points for positive actions.

At the end of each week, upload your grid and reflection to a Google Form.

Week 1 form >>>

Week 2 form >>>

Week 3 form >>>

Week 4 form >>>

 

More information

See and download the weekly fillable grid below or here >>>

To find all our resources — including weekly water reduction tips — visit our Box folder >>>

Waste Reduction Challenge — October 2021

October 2021: Waste Reduction Challenge

 

Introduction

The average individual generates around 6 pounds of waste per day, and about 40% of all waste is in the form of food. Each person disposes of approximately a ton of waste per year. Yikes!

Thank you for taking the first step to be more conscious of your personal waste output. Your actions matter. You are helping to combat climate change and to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in our landfills. We have the power to make a change.

 

How to participate

As part of Campus Sustainability Month this October, iSEE is starting a campuswide waste reduction challenge.

Sign up today using this form >>>

By registering to participate, you will receive a weekly grid to fill out with the items that you throw in the garbage each day; for example, food, single-use disposable items, paper, and plastics. A point system will be used for you to keep track of your waste. The goal is to earn as few points as possible. There is also the opportunity to subtract points for positive actions. These actions will result in a subtraction from your weekly total.

At the end of each week, upload your grid and reflection to the weekly Google Form.

Week 1 submission form >>>

Week 2 submission form >>>

Week 3 submission form >>>

Week 4 submission form >>>

 

More information

See and download a sample grid at left.

You can download each weekly grid and other resources — and read all email communication from the October 2021 Waste Reduction Challenge — here >>>

Plastic Free Challenge — March 2021

March 2021: Plastic Free Challenge

 

Introduction

So much plastic is thrown away each year that putting it all together creates enough material to circle the Earth four times. Ouch. More than 99 percent of plastics come from chemicals derived from fossil fuels (petrochemicals), and only about 9 percent of plastic is recycled for reuse. Approximately 500,000 straws are thrown away each day. It is estimated that each American generates 185 pounds of plastic each year. Have you heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch? Nearly 600 million pounds of plastic fill our oceans, draining from our fresh bodies of water — which we contribute to here in the Midwest!

These are frightening statistics! How much of what’s listed above do you think comes from single-use plastics, or items that individuals use and throw away every day? Luckily, you came across this challenge! YOU have the power to change these statistics for the better. 

 

Your Actions Matter

Thank you for taking the first step to living a more plastic-free lifestyle and being conscious of your plastic consumption. You are helping combat climate change by reducing the demand for fossil fuels and pollution from landfills; your actions make a difference by reducing the amount of plastic that ends up in our streets, landfills, and bodies of water.

Together, we can make a difference!

 

Click to download the grid.

How to Participate

The most important step is registering to participate with our interest form. Then, you’ll receive a weekly grid to fill out with the items that you throw in the garbage each day and track your waste with our predetermined point system. While not every plastic item is included, we made the list as comprehensive as possible. We encourage you to use your best judgement and add an appropriate number of points if you throw away an unlisted item. 

The goal is to earn as few points as possible. Subtract points from your weekly total when you complete positive, waste-conscious actions. At the end of each week, upload your grid and reflection to the weekly Google Form, which you’ll receive via email.

Please note: Points are generated based on items thrown in the trash. Before choosing to throw an item away, please consider whether it can be reused or recycled (recycling does not affect points).

Click to view and download the Plastic Free Challenge Point System.

 

Click to view and download the Plastic Free Challenge Point System!

The Objective

The Plastic Free Challenge is about more than points and prizes (although both of those are fun, too!). We encourage you to reflect on your waste at the end of each day and each week. Ideally, your average weekly plastic waste will decrease.

Throughout the challenge, we will send out resources to check in and provide guidance. Remember, this is a challenge! It may not be easy, but we can guarantee that by participating, you’ll become more conscious of how much plastic you throw away. Plus, you’ll be part of a fun, interactive, and sustainable community!

 

Next Steps

  1. Fill out the interest form. Click here to access the March 2021 Plastic Free Challenge Interest Form.
  2. Plan ahead and reflect! Think about what you throw away each day. Are there choices you can make to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the garbage?
  3. Review the breakdown of points for various items and use the grid to track your points. Subtract points for positive actions. Click here to view and download the grid. 
  4. At the end of each week (by 8 a.m. the following Monday), upload your grid to the weekly Google Form (see below).
  5. Stay in touch! Share your efforts and let us — and others — know how important it is to be conscious of how much waste we generate. Email us at iseesustainabilitychallenge@gmail.com!

 

Weekly Google Forms

Week 1 (March 1-7)
Click here to access the Plastic Free Challenge Week 1 Google Form.

Week 2 (March 8-14)
Click here to access the Plastic Free Challenge Week 2 Google Form.

Week 3 (March 15-21)
Click here to access the Plastic Free Challenge Week 3 Google Form.

Week 4 (March 22-28)
Click here to access the Plastic Free Challenge Week 4 Google Form.

 

More Information

If you’re joining late in the challenge, never fear! Bring yourself up to speed by visiting this folder on Box, where we archive all email communication and weekly waste tips throughout the challenge. 

Waste Reduction Challenge — October 2020

Introduction

The average individual generates around 6 pounds of waste per day, and about 40% of all waste is in the form of food. Each person disposes of approximately a ton of waste per year. Yikes!

Thank you for taking the first step to be more conscious of your personal waste output. Your actions matter. You are helping to combat climate change and to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in our landfills. We have the power to make a change.

How to participate

As part of Campus Sustainability Month this October, iSEE is starting a campuswide waste reduction challenge. By registering to participate, you will receive a weekly grid to fill out with the items that you throw in the garbage each day; for example, food, single-use disposable items, paper, and plastics. A point system will be used for you to keep track of your waste. The goal is to earn as few points as possible. There is also the opportunity to subtract points for positive actions. These actions will result in a subtraction from your weekly total. At the end of each week, upload your grid and reflection to the weekly Google Form.

More information

You can download and read all email communication from the October 2020 Waste Reduction Challenge here.

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