Pairing sustainable practice with public outreach, South Dakota School of Mines & Technology students will hold a series of presentations open to the public on research topics ranging from nuclear power and fuel cells to hydropower and microwaving plastics from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Thursday, March 28, in the Surbeck Center East Ballroom on campus. The media and general public are invited to attend.
Students will also present to a breadth of local civic, community and campus organizations March 25-April 1, including Rapid City Public Works, Legal and Finance and Sustainability Committee, the City Council, landfill staff, the American Society of Civil Engineers and the Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Production.
In collaboration with Jerry Wright, a city council member who developed a plan 11 years ago to increase recycling efforts, students checked and updated data, wrote reports and will present their findings around the city, including the economic and energy savings estimates of a ramped-up recycling campaign.
Students conducted their research and projects as part of the Introduction to Sustainable Design class led by Jennifer Benning, Ph.D., of the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering.
The presentations follow a Mines-sponsored middle school recycling contest that challenged students at Southwest, North and East to use less and recycle more, and are situated as part of a larger effort called RecycleMania. A nationwide campaign and benchmarking tool, RecycleMania pits more than 600 universities against each other to promote waste reduction activities to their campus communities – which Mines has participated in six years running. Over an eight-week period each spring, colleges across the United States and Canada report the amount of trash and recycling collected each week and are then ranked in various categories: which university recycles the most on a per capita basis, boasts the best recycling rate and generates the least amount of trash and recycling combined.
The most recent 2011 competition included 630 colleges from 49 states and four Canadian provinces. Over 7.5 million students, faculty and staff participated, collectively recycling 91 million pounds of recyclables and organic materials. This activity helped to prevent the release of 127,553 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, commensurate to the greenhouse gas emissions of 25,000 passenger cars or the electricity use of more than 15,500 homes.