Joliet Junior College won $3,000 to go toward student sustainability initiatives after receiving third place in the nation for the PepsiCo Campus Recycling Challenge this fall. JJC’s third place win comes after its second place win in the spring and first place win in 2014. The college won after using the PepsiCo Dream Machine to recycle more than 23,000 beverage containers this semester.
Maria Anna Rafac, JJC architecture professor and sustainability coordinator, said the prize money would go toward JJC’s Earth Month activities in April, a student worker position, and a volunteer outing all related to sustainability.
Every year, the contest becomes more difficult for JJC due to the fact that it is measured in how much more each college recycles than in its previous year. This year, JJC recycled 1,527 percent more beverage containers than they did in the spring, and because JJC was ranked number one the first year of the contest, that means JJC has always had to recycle more than any other college or university participating in order to remain in the top.
Rafac is proud of the students and campus as a whole, but gives much credit to the members of Student Sustainability Union, the student arm of the Sustainability Initiatives committee, and JJC’s facility services staff that have worked together to make a continuous effort to collect beverage containers around campus and in the community to recycle using the PepsiCo Dream Machine.
“One of the main goals of the Student Sustainability Union is to educate our student body and to change what’s happening on our campus and in our community. The students have done such a great job and put in so much work since we began participating in Pepsi’s contest two years ago,” Rafac added.
Since 2010, PepsiCo Recycling has collected more than 15 million beverage containers from more than 70 college and university campuses.
JJC has two Dream Machines on its Main Campus, one located in the Campus Center Cafeteria, and another in the J-Café. Anyone in the community is invited to use the Dream Machine. In addition to the contributing to JJC’s count in the contest, those who recycle at the Dream Machine will earn points to get coupons for local shops, entertainment venues, dining, and more.
For more information about the contest, visit https://www.pepsicorecycling.com/programs/recyclingoncampus. For more about sustainability at JJC, please visit www.jjc.edu/sustainablecampus.