Since 2007, West Virginia University’s Ecolympics month-long challenge has pitted residence halls against each other in one category and campus buildings in another to measure which one can recycle the most material per capita while also reducing energy consumption by the highest percentage.

This year, the challenge will also include an individual competition. WECAN, WVU’s sustainability program, plans program activities and feels that adding an individual component to the program will affect behavior.

“Although the competition spotlights winning buildings, it is equally vital to recognize the personal effort made by each participant during the monthlong challenge. By adding an individual competition to this year’s Ecolympics, we hope to create long-lasting behavior change that will continue throughout the academic year,” said Stephanie Toothman, operations coordinator for Facilities Management Recycling Services.

The individual competition is made up of a series of events students and staff can attend, as well as a list of individual actions they can take to live a ‘greener’ lifestyle. The portfolio of options is designed to allow individuals to participate where their interests lie and when their schedules allow.

“A student can receive points for attending one of the Davis College’s Environmental Research Seminars, submit a design for a new Ecolympics logo, or simply switch from printing class notes to saving them electronically,” Toothman said. “The new category of this competition is designed to allow people to participate in ways that are meaningful to them.”

Prizes will be awarded in all categories of the competition. A person’s individual points will also count for the residence hall they live in or the building in which they work. The team prize for residence halls is $3,000 to buy entertainment equipment and the prize for the campus building winner is a 2-hour work-release luncheon. The individual challenge winner will receive a “green-themed” prize package and the title of WVU Ecolympian.

Results from past years have been impressive. In 2011, Stalnaker Hall won the residence hall category by recycling more than 3,000 pounds of material and reducing energy consumption by 9 percent. The Student Recreation Center took top honors in the building category with an impressive 17 percent reduction in energy use.

The competition kicks off on Tuesday, Sept. 25 with points awarded for attendance at the Switch Energy Project Film Screening in the Gluck Theater at 7 pm. A full list of competition activities and official rules can be found on the competition website at

WVU sustainability efforts integrate the principles of people, planet, and prosperity through a variety of WECAN (WVU Environmental Conservation Awareness Now) events, initiatives, and programs. To learn more about these, visit



CONTACT: Traci Liebig, conservation specialist in Facilities Management

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