Orangeburg, S.C. – Claflin University will celebrate its status as a national recycling champion with a special outdoor concert for the campus community at 7 p.m. Friday, April 24, in the Claflin Commons Courtyard.
The event will feature performances by Grammy Award-winning R&B and soul singer/songwriter Chrisette Michele, contemporary R&B artist JoiStaRR and the Claflin University Jazz Ensemble. Giveaways, a DJ and more are also planned. In the event of inclement weather, the concert will be held in Tullis Arena in the Jonas T. Kennedy Health and Physical Education Center.
The concert is being sponsored by PepsiCo Recycling, which announced earlier this month that Claflin won the $25,000 grand prize for a campus-wide student celebration after boasting the highest percentage increase in recycling in the brand’s 2014 Campus Recycling Challenge. The University collected some 652% more aluminum cans and plastic bottles between October 1, 2014, and March 31, 2015, than it did during the same time period the previous year.
Since partnering with the Dream Machine in spring 2013, Claflin has recycled more than 36,500 aluminum cans and plastic bottles on campus, resulting in keeping more than a ton of recyclable material out of landfills.
“Placing first in the Campus Recycling Challenge is a testament to our school, and I’m proud of our students and employees for leading the way in recycling,” President Dr. Henry N. Tisdale said. “Our partnership with PepsiCo Recycling has had a tremendous impact and helped motivate students to recycle on campus and think about their impact on the environment.”
The concert is being held during Earth Week at the University. A full slate of activities sponsored by Claflin’s Friends of the Earth (FOE) is planned, including a weeklong recycling challenge in the residence halls. The winner of the challenge will be announced at Friday’s concert. Additionally, the top three Earth Day essay contest winners from William J. Clark Middle School will be recognized during a special program at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the Iowa Room of the James S. Thomas Science Building. Visit http://www.claflin.edu/about-cu/sustainability for more information about Earth Week at Claflin.
Timothy Alston, president of the University’s FOE and a senior environmental science major from Maryland, said the response to the Campus Recycling Challenge was extraordinary. Some 50 student volunteers from across majors and representing a variety of campus organizations volunteered to help collect recyclables from buildings and outdoor bins around Claflin, he said.
“It’s a really good feeling knowing that I was able to help get other students involved,” Alston added. “This was a really good effort among students, staff and faculty. I’m glad the University was able to get students to recycle and understand why it’s so important.”
The Campus Recycling Challenge is a component of PepsiCo Recycling’s innovative programs that help schools raise awareness of the importance of recycling while making it easy and fun for students to recycle more often.
“The PepsiCo Campus Recycling Challenge is a unique way for colleges and universities to engage students and garner excitement for recycling on campus,” PepsiCo Recycling Program Director Meagan Smith said. “This year’s participants demonstrated how simple acts can have a big impact, and we look forward to expanding recycling efforts through programs like the Campus Recycling Challenge that can help us reach our goal of increasing the national recycling rate to 50 percent by 2018.”
Claflin was one of the first institutions of higher education to introduce PepsiCo Recycling’s Dream Machine kiosk, located outside the University’s Dining Center in the Panther Plaza courtyard. As an increased incentive to recycle regularly, students can receive reward points that can be redeemed for prizes, including local entertainment and dining options, for every bottle or can they recycle through the Dream Machine.
In addition to collecting personal rewards, those who recycle via the Dream Machine are also assisting PepsiCo Recycling in providing dedicated support to further the Entrepreneurship Boot Camp for Veterans with Disabilities’ mission to provide training in entrepreneurship and small business management to post-9/11 veterans with disabilities resulting from military service.
During the Campus Recycling Challenge, schools followed their progress through a real-time leaderboard hosted on www.PepsicoRecycling.com, which provided daily tracking of recycling rates.
“We were so successful because of the buy in from the entire campus, especially from residential life. Everybody really just bought into what we were doing,” said Rodney Hudson, director of Auxiliary Services at Claflin and chairman of the University’s Sustainability Committee. “They saw how they could make a difference in our community and on our campus.”
Not only did the campus community get involved – businesses, groups and officials in and around Orangeburg were also supportive of Claflin’s efforts to collect and recycle cans and bottles, he said.
“Everyone we reached out to was supportive of what we were trying to do,” Hudson said. “You didn’t have to twist anybody’s arm to get on board. Once they heard about it, they were excited to get on board.”
Sustainability has been a Claflin initiative for several years now, he said. In recent years, Claflin has eliminated trays in the dining hall, installed solar panel systems in several buildings to reduce energy consumption, installed biodigester equipment in the dining hall to compost food waste and launched a new campus energy policy. The University has also signed the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment, and continues to conduct cutting-edge research with biofuels and bioremediation and initiate awareness among students through FOE programs. Numerous sustainability initiatives were used in the construction of the University’s newest residential complex, Claflin Commons.
“Last year, the recycle bins that we put on campus made a very visible statement to students when they returned about how serious we were about recycling,” Hudson said. “Even Sodexo got in on it by changing the way they clean. They don’t use harsh chemicals anymore. They’ve got a system – Hydris – that provides electrified water for cleaning.”
The University is also working with a utility energy management vendor through Sodexo to audit its utility bills.
“It will not only audit to make sure we are paying properly, but it will also help us see trends where we may have an opportunity to reduce utilities,” Hudson said. “It will give us data on our carbon footprint.”
The PepsiCo Recycling program currently includes more than 65 participating colleges and universities in 24 states. To date, these colleges have collected 2.6 million total beverage containers.
For more information about the concert, call 803-535-5077. To learn more about PepsiCo Recycling, visit www.PepsiCoRecycling.com. To learn more about sustainability at Claflin University, visit http://www.claflin.edu/about-cu/sustainability. And join the conversation on social media, #CUPepsiRecycles.
Founded in 1869, Claflin University is recognized by national publications such as U.S. News and World Report, Forbes.com and Washington Monthly as one of America’s best liberal arts colleges. The University proudly serves the state of South Carolina, the nation and the world. Its beautiful historic campus is home for approximately 2,000 students from every region of the United States and more than 20 international countries. Claflin students demonstrate extraordinary achievement, distinctive confidence and a lifelong desire to transform society through visionary leadership. Its academic programs prepare students to compete and succeed in a global and technological society.
Outstanding alumni include Chief Justice of South Carolina Supreme Court (Ret) Ernest A. Finney, Jr.; renowned photographer, author and publisher Cecil Williams; internationally recognized artist Leo Twiggs; Vela McClam-Mitchell, president/CEO and owner, Georgia International Travel; and the eighth president of Claflin University, Dr. Henry N. Tisdale. For more information, visit claflin.edu or GoToClaflin.com.