With 5,250 pounds of paper collected at the university’s shred event on March 29, the University of Mary Washington should advance in the rankings of Recyclemania, according to sustainability coordinator senior Tori Wong.
Dre Anthes, assistant dean of admissions, who started planning the event in November of last semester, organized the event that took place simultaneously at locations on both the undergraduate and graduate campuses.
Last week alone the university recycled 8,532 pounds, according to Wong, so adding over two tons of recycled paper to school’s recycling this week is a substantial contribution.
“That 5,000 is a huge percentage of this week,” Wong said. “It’s really [Anthes’] baby and her success.”
Proshred, the company involved in collecting, destroying and recycling the paper, offered its confidential document shredding services for free, according to Proshred General Manager Steve Theobald.
“We do a number of events every year for various causes,” Theobald said.
The Northern Virginia-based company also partners with organizations like Habitat for Humanity and the Arlington Food Assistance Center.
According to Anthes, many offices on campus expressed gratitude at the opportunity to shred their documents without having to pay out of pocket for the service.
Joni Wilson, director of landscape and grounds, also took an active role in the shred event.
“By and large I think we’ve seen something out of every building on campus,” Wilson said of the event.
Facility services also sent a van around campus earlier in the day to help facilitate the shredding of unwanted paper. Two landscape and grounds employees, Arthur Wiggins and Ronnie Collier, collected paper from across the undergraduate campus to bring to the Proshred truck near the corner of William Street and Sunken Road, according to Wilson.
The shred event started as an idea in the President’s Council on Sustainability, according to Anthes, when members were seeking out new ways of increasing the campus’s sustainability and augmenting the university’s participation in the nationwide competition known as Recyclemania.
The competition ranks 630 schools across the country over a 10-week period, looking at their recycling in the categories of per capita recycling, largest amount of total recyclables, the least amount of trash and the highest recycling rates.
The shred event was targeted toward UMW faculty, staff and students, although the event was open to the community for anyone with paper documents that needed shredding.
However, for the materials to count toward Recyclemania, they had to come from people with ties to UMW, according to Wong.
Of all the paper collected, 137 pounds came from off campus, leaving a vast majority available to count toward the university’s participation in the contest.
Both Anthes and Wong agree that the event was such a success that they would like to see it become an annual occurrence, although some of the feasibility for that would depend on how much Proshred would charge for their services or if they would continue to offer them for free as they did this year.