West Virginia University will launch its annual campus conservation competition, the WE CAN Ecolympics, next week.

The goal is to get students and employees to recycle, conserve energy and gogreen.

A kick-off event Monday (Oct. 6)from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. in the Mountainlair commonswill include an overview of the competition and T-shirt and CFL light-bulb giveaways. Interim Provost E. Jane Martin and Director of Sustainability Clement Solomon will offer brief remarks at noon.

The first WE CAN Ecolympics was held last year in the residence halls, and organizers have expanded the sustainability event to include University facilities as well.

WE CAN , or WVU Environmental Conservation Awareness Now, is a University-wide effort to get students and employees to incorporate sustainable practices into their daily routines.

The Ecolympics is co-sponsored by WVU s Center for Civic Engagement. The event falls on the heels of a sustainability pledge signing by the Universitys newly formed Sustainability Committee led by Clement Solomon, who oversees WVU s efforts in that area.

Our goal is to have students and employees embrace the concepts of conservation and recycling,said Barbara Angeletti, WVU s recycling coordinator.In my mind, if we get everyone switching off lights, turning off computers and turning off printers for a month, then weve got them. Theyre on the �€~green team.

This year, the entire University community is encouraged to participate in the Ecolympics. The four-week event continues through Friday, Oct. 31. There are two competitions: a Residence Hall Challenge and a Facilities Challenge.

In the Residence Hall Challenge, each hall will be considered a team, and the teams will compete head-to-head with the winner receiving a trophy and a $3,500 prize.

The Facilities Challenge will be building versus building with the winner receiving a two-hour catered lunch party in December sponsored by WE CAN and the WVU administration.

Every week, bags of recyclable materials will be collected and weighed from each residence hall and facility. Empty aluminum cans and plastic bottles will be collected as well as paper materials like magazines and newspapers. The top three teams will be awarded points as follows: three points for the team that recycles the most, two points for second place and one point for third place.

Energy use will also be factored in. The team with the highest percent reduction during the four-week competition will receive points as follows: first place, 10 points; second place, nine points; third place, eight points; and so on (see complete rules at http://wecan.wvu.edu/home_2/ecolympics ).

Along with recycling and energy conservation, teams will have the opportunity to earn points by participating in trivia quizzes, signing WVU s sustainability pledge (go to http://wecan.wvu.edu/ and click onTake the Sustainability Pledge) and completing a campuswide scavenger hunt (students only).

Angeletti and Lisa Saurborn of Facilities Management will be judging the competitions. The success of the contest and ongoing conservation efforts on campus is dependent on student, faculty and staff support, Saurborn said.

Recycling takes little effort, and the benefits for the environment are long term,Saurborn added.By making the Ecolympics fun and educational and turning it into something competitive, we hope that the University community will take away lifelong practices for recycling and conservation.

For more information, contact Angeletti at 304-293-9500 or ” barbara.angeletti@mail.wvu.edu rel=nofollow> barbara.angeletti@mail.wvu.edu .

More on the Net: http://wecan.wvu.edu