As the fall semester gets into full swing and students return to campus, waste generation in residence halls and academic buildings jumps. West Virginia University’s WE CAN Ecolympics program aims to cut down waste in the competition’s fifth year.

The Ecolympics competition challenges residence halls in one division, and all other campus buildings in another division, to recycle the most material and reduce energy use by the highest percentage during the four weeks in October.

“The idea is to shine a spotlight on waste generation and energy use, so that WVU faculty, staff, and students take stock of just how much waste we create and energy we use,” said Traci Liebig, the University’s conservation specialist. “Armed with that awareness and the lesser impact they make during the competition, we hope that students and staff will continue habits made in October during the rest of the year.”

Last year, the competition recycled 33.75 tons of recyclable paper, aluminum and plastic and prompted a 10-percent energy reduction in 26 buildings. The winners last year were Arnold Hall and Apartments and Bicentennial House on Mileground Road.

Mountaineers can participate in the competition by recycling #1 plastic, aluminum, and paper in campus buildings. Participants can reduce energy consumption by turning off lights when leaving the room, using natural light when possible, and turning off computers and other devices when not in use. Winners in the residence hall competition will receive $3,500 towards an item or items for their hall’s use, and the winners of the campus building challenge receive a two-hour work release lunch at a local restaurant.

The competition kicks off at WVUp All Night with the WE CAN Build-Off, a contest among residence halls to build a sculpture from plastic bottles. The top three sculptures will be displayed in the Student Lot at this weekend’s homecoming game against Bowling Green. To see official rules for the competition as well as a full schedule of events, visit


CONTACT: Traci Liebig, conservation specialist

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