With great celebrations come TONS of trash. Homecoming festivities on campus this year alone generated eleven tons of trash!

As UMass students are not ones to ignore a great opportunity to improve the environment, they will lead the campus in a national recycling effort. When the UMass Minutemen face Ball State in a nationally televised event on November 12, UMass will be participating in the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) GameDay Recycling Challenge to better manage the amount of waste left behind by fans outside of McGuirk Stadium.

“By kickoff, we want to have little to no litter on the ground, and the recyclables ready to go with very little contamination from trash,” said Ezra Small, the UMass Amherst campus sustainability manager.

The GameDay Recycling Challenge was created by the EPA to be a friendly competition between colleges and universities. During the challenge, participating institutions put into action waste-reduction programs during home football games, tracking and reporting their results.

Winning efforts are made by the schools who best reduce overall waste. This includes lowering the amount of trash generated, recycling a high percentage of waste and reducing the amount of greenhouse gas generated per person. 

Jordan Chan ’15, the Student Government Association’s secretary of sustainability and the Sustainable UMass Eco-Rep students are among those who have led the charge toward meeting the GameDay Challenge. On November 12, student volunteers will help by handing out bags to tailgaters to collect their recyclables and by assisting with bag collection after the game, among other activities. 

“The first year we did this, we had about 20 volunteers,” Small said. “This year, we’ll probably top 100. The students are really getting on board with recycling.”