Overall Rating Silver - expired
Overall Score 59.34
Liaison Elizabeth MacKenzie
Submission Date July 24, 2018
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of Iowa
EN-5: Outreach Campaign

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 4.00 / 4.00 Sara Maples
Interim Director
The UI Office of Sustainability
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Has the institution held at least one sustainability-related outreach campaign during the previous three years that was directed at students and yielded measurable, positive results in advancing sustainability? :
Yes

Has the institution held at least one sustainability-related outreach campaign during the previous three years that was directed at employees and yielded measurable, positive results in advancing sustainability?:
Yes

Name of the campaign:
EcoHawks - "RecycleMania"

A brief description of the campaign, including how students and/or employees were engaged:
The University of Iowa sponsors a network of students, faculty, and staff known as "EcoHawks" through which various sustainability-related campaigns are disseminated throughout campus.

One example of a campaign primarily directed at students is the Recyclemania Event, where the community is encouraged to continue and improve upon recycling efforts as part of a national competition.
Students and Employees are engaged through participation in 8 weekly events, including topics as the recycling pledge, where does my recycling go, what to (and not to) recycle, and landfill awareness. Participants are entered to win prizes by logging their recycling activity.

A brief description of the measured positive impact(s) of the campaign:
During the annual Recyclemaina campaign, individuals and buildings are publicly recognized for their recycling contributions on a week to week basis. The aggregate results are submitted to the national campaign and the UI competes for publicly available rankings against other universities.

During Recylemania 2018, the average diversion rate was 49% across the eight weeks of the competition (minimum: 41%; maximum:55%). Since the competition takes place in February and March, and since University of Iowa students return from their winter breaks in mid-January, the best "pre-competition" diversion rate comparison is the full months of the previous semester (i.e. the preceding September, October, November). In fall 2017, the average diversion rate was 39% across the listed three months (September: 38%, October: 39%, November:40%). Diversion during the competition is a full 10 percentage points higher than before the competition. Additionally, in the one full month after the competition (April), diversion was at 42%, which is higher than the pre-competition diversion. This suggests that there may be longer term benefits to diversion from participating in Recyclemania.

To bolster this claim, we provide Recyclemania 2017 data. The average diversion rate before Recyclemania 2017 was 37%. The diversion rate rose to an average of 45% during the 2017 competition. After the competition the diversion rate was 39% in April, higher than the original 37%. This does not prove a long term effect, as the University has engaged in other efforts to increase diversion over the years, but can support the idea.


The website URL where information about the campaign is available:
Name of the campaign (2nd campaign):
EcoHawks - "Tiny Trash"

A brief description of the campaign, including how students and/or employees were engaged (2nd campaign):
Staff and faculty are provided a blue, desk-side recycling bin ) and a black, tiny trash can.
The tiny trash can is small and conveniently hangs onto the larger desk-side recycling bin. Its small size accurately reflects how little of our waste stream is trash; most of it can be recycled.

A brief description of the measured positive impact(s) of the campaign (2nd campaign):
Studies have shown that Tiny Trash significantly reduces the number of recyclable items thrown away, as high as 75% to 95% waste reduction (or diversion to recycling). So far, the initiative has rolled out to 16 buildings, with more to come in the future.

The website URL where information about the campaign is available (2nd campaign):
A brief description of other sustainability-related outreach campaigns, including measured positive impacts:
The Office of Sustainability sponsors a network of students, faculty, and staff known as "EcoHawks," through which various campaigns are disseminated throughout campus. For example, The University of Iowa campus participates annually in the RecycleMania event; the office hired student organizers create events and assist with education to increase recycling rates among the community. The growth in EcoHawks membership from 340 in 2015 to 1,463 in 2017 is evidence of increased participation on campus. A campaign that targeted faculty and staff is the "Tiny Trash" program. The program consists of moving from a regular sized trash can to a recycling can with a small trash can, promoting the reduction of trash for the campus, and has been highly effective on other universities (75%-95% waste reduction in one study!). Tiny Trash has been implemented in 16 buildings, with additional roll-outs targeted for the future.

The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
Data source(s) and notes about the submission:
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