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Students challenged to ‘Out-Green’ Michigan Wolverines

The Undergraduate Student Government’s sustainability committee is giving students a chance to beat Michigan this week as part of their plan to make the campus “greener.”

“Out-Green the Wolverines” is scheduled for this Tuesday — Thursday in The Great Hall at the Ohio Union from 10 a.m. — 9 p.m. and will allow students to recycle at least five plastic bags in exchange for a T-shirt and swap inefficient light bulbs for more efficient fluorescent bulbs for free.

Dustin Homan, project director and a fourth-year in agricultural and extension education, said he hopes this event will help single Ohio State out as a leader in “green” practices and will reflect the student population’s environmental goals.

“Nick (Messenger) and Emily (DeDonato), president and vice president of USG, respectively, created the sustainability committee this year because they believed sustainability was a growing concern among students,” Homan said. “They wanted USG to help Ohio State become a leader in student-led, green initiatives.”

All donated plastic bags will be recycled by a local Kroger’s, and OSU’s office of environmental health and safety will dispose of any donated incandescent light bulbs.

Homan said he hopes to increase awareness of sustainability initiatives on campus, help students save money and save the Earth by hosting the event.

“My goals for this week are to increase awareness and initiate more sustainable practices in our student body. We hope to accomplish this by providing a location for students to finally commit to being more green,” Homan said. “Students can bring us their mounds of plastic grocery bags in exchange for T-shirts made from recycled plastic.”

Homan said that as of Tuesday night, the program had collected more than 1,000 plastic bags and swapped out more than 190 light bulbs.

Those students planning to swap light bulbs should be aware that it is first-come, first-serve and that there is a limited supply of fluorescent bulbs available.

Colby Halker, a third-year in zoology, said she saw a flyer on campus about the initiative and decided to bring in her old plastic bags for recycling. She said she was a big promoter of recycling at her high school and will be back tomorrow with more bags.

“I keep forgetting to recycle them anyway, so I’m just going to keep coming back with more until I run out,” Halker said. “I recycle to not put as much in landfills and make a better life for me and my future kids. Why throw away something someone can reuse?”

Assisting the sustainability committee with this project was Rebecca Delo, and office associate for the three student governments. She made sure the bulbs that were ordered would be the most beneficial to students and said she thought it was a good way for USG to show that they support sustainable practices.

“I’ll help wherever they need help because this is an energetic group that is focused on the student experience,” Delo said. “We were able to order bulbs in bulk and get a better rate than an individual could, and they can pass on the savings (to students).”

Delo also assisted with the Farmer’s Market event in the fall, which promoted local produce. Students passed out locally grown apples and reusable cloth bags.

She said she thinks this might become an annual event due to its success.

For this event, USG purchased $2,300 worth of light bulbs from Loeb Electric, a company in Columbus.

Amber Seira, a third-year in public affairs and USG sustainability committee member, said she thinks it’s important to buy locally because it helps sustainability.

“It’s good to support local businesses, but it also dramatically cuts fuel costs,” Seira said. “By choosing local vendors you make a smaller carbon footprint.”

The T-shirt’s were made from 100 percent recycled material, and were purchased from a company called SustainU for $3,100.

As the name “Out-Green the Wolverines” suggests, this was a competition with the wolverines to see who can recycle the most bags and swap the most bulbs. However, communication during the planning stages hit some bumps and Michigan is not hosting a competitive event this week. Instead, USG is keeping a tally of how much they collect and sending it to Michigan afterward so they can compete at a later time if they choose.

Homan said if Michigan chooses not to participate, he would consider it a victory by default for OSU, but hopes they will compete to make it more fun.

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