Claflin Wins $25,000 Grand Prize in the Pepsico Recycling’s Campus Recycling Challenge

Jan 10, 2017

Claflin Students RecyclingPepsico Recycling announced Thursday that Claflin University has won the $25,000 grand prize in PepsiCo Recycling’s 2014 Campus Recycling Challenge.

The $25,000 prize is for a campus-wide student celebration event, which will take place before the spring semester ends. More details will be announced at a later time. Second-place and third-place prizes of $15,000 and $5,000 were also awarded.

“Winning this recycling challenge shows how committed we are to sustainability efforts at Claflin University,” President Henry N. Tisdale said. “In my address on Matriculation Day last fall, I noted that sustainability would be a priority at Claflin. By investing in green efforts campus-wide, we are showing our commitment to the future of Claflin University, the state and the world.”

Claflin was among the first to introduce PepsiCo Recycling’s Dream Machine, a reward program that provides students, faculty, staff and campus visitors with a convenient way to recycle their plastic bottles and aluminum cans on the go. The Dream Machine kiosk is located outside the University’s Dining Center in the Panther Plaza courtyard.

As part of the collaboration, the University was invited to compete in the beverage company’s Campus Recycling Challenge, which pitted participating higher learning institutions against one another in a contest that tracked recycling progress.

The University collected some 652% more aluminum cans and plastic bottles between October 1, 2014, and March 31, 2015, than it did during the same time period the previous year.

“The Claflin family made a conscious decision to recycle, and we hope it’s one they continue to make when they leave the University,” said Rodney Hudson, director of Auxiliary Services and chair of the University’s Sustainability Committee. “We are delighted to win this contest, but more importantly, we are excited to see a wave of change across the campus as more and more individuals recycle and encourage others to do so, too. We hope they take this habit with them wherever they go.”

The computerized Dream Machine receptacle rewards users with points for every plastic beverage bottle or aluminum can deposited at the kiosk. Points can then be redeemed for local discounts on entertainment, dining and travel at

Aside from the inherent benefits of keeping communities and landfills free of recyclable litter, the Dream Machine also enables students to help support disabled U.S. veterans. The recycled materials make it possible for PepsiCo to donate funds to the Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities, which offers post-9/11 disabled veterans free training in entrepreneurship and small business management so they can make their own dreams come true.

In recent years, Claflin has shown its dedication to sustainability by signing the American College and University President’s Climate Commitment; conducting cutting-edge research with biofuels and bioremediation; initiating awareness among students through the University’s Friends of the Earth programs; eliminating trays in the dining hall; launching a new campus energy policy; installing solar panel systems in several campus buildings to reduce energy consumption; installing biodigester equipment in the dining hall to compost food waste; and incorporating numerous sustainability initiatives into the construction of Claflin Commons.

The University kicked off a campus-wide Sustainability Movement in September, under the theme, “Your future is orange, maroon and GREEN.” New exterior recycling bins bearing the Panther logo campus-wide; trash bins with green lids designated for recyclables among the black bins across campus; and recycling bins for paper, plastic and aluminum in each residence hall and buildings campus-wide were unveiled at the event. Since then, a one-stop recycling center behind the Dining Center has also been added to the campus.

Claflin’s sustainability efforts were recognized in 2013 by the Building Green Initiative as one of the nation’s “Top 10 Green HBCUs.” The University also hosted “Green It and Mean It,” a spring recycling awareness day filled with music, prizes, information and more, on Panther Plaza in January.

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