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Purdue University Residences turns greener, reduces waste

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Purdue University Residences is turning greener with its latest efforts to reduce water and energy consumption.

Residents of McCutcheon, Harrison, Earhart and Shreve halls are having a competition to cut down energy and water use, and the winner will be announced on Earth Day (April 22).

“Residents are unplugging appliances not in use, turning off lights when not needed, not using heat and air-conditioning at the same time, shortening showers, and turning off water while brushing their teeth,” said Carmen Martin, a member of Boiler Green Initiative, a club dedicated to conservation measures on campus. “Participants in the contest are being entered in a raffle for prizes, and the floor of the winning building with the highest participation gets a dessert social.”

Last September, Purdue University Residences was among the sponsors of the university's Green Week, which encouraged students to reduce, reuse and recycle resources such as water, electricity, food, paper and aluminum.

Last September, Purdue University Residences was among the sponsors of the university's Green Week, which encouraged students to reduce, reuse and recycle resources such as water, electricity, food, paper and aluminum.

In another attempt to reduce waste, the new dining court south of Wiley Hall is piloting a program called “Waste Less Wednesdays.” Each Wednesday this month, diners won’t use trays in an effort to save food and the energy used to clean trays.

“There are several colleges and universities around the country that have gone trayless and realized a substantial decrease in food waste,” said Jill Irvin, director of Dining Services for University Residences. “We’ve been discussing this idea for several months and seeing how we might best test it. Some of our staff visited the University of Illinois earlier this spring to observe their trayless operation. It was after this trip that the pilot program was finalized.”

For the most part, students have responded positively to the program, Irvin said.

“It’s a great idea,” said Andy Jones, a junior in the College of Technology. “On Waste Less Wednesdays, students eat all the food they take instead of heaping their trays with items and not eating them.

“The dining court is an all-you-can-eat facility anyway. Without trays, students may have to make an extra trip to get more food, but there’s never any limit to what they can eat.”

Nate Reed, a student supervisor at the dining court, said dishes get cleaned faster and the trash cans look less full on Waste Less Wednesdays.

“Whenever I get a tray, I fill it up and mostly don’t eat half of the things,” he said. “But if it’s plates, I take smaller portions and eat the food. And you can always get more plates if you’re still hungry.”

University Residences is the single biggest recycler on campus, said Barbara Frazee, University Residences executive director.

Last September, University Residences was among the sponsors of the university’s Green Week, which encouraged students to reduce, reuse and recycle resources such as water, electricity, food, paper and aluminum.

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