We’re solidly into the year’s second term, and as midterms loom behind corners and and tests poke their ugly heads out from under piles of paper like the monster under the bed, it is very easy to break positive habits like minimizing waste and turning off lights when not in use. These aren’t criminal offenses of course, but this year Knox is participating in a nationwide effort to keep our focus on sustainability.


For the first time, Knox is a proud participant in Recyclemania, a nationwide competition centered around waste reduction and recycling awareness. By benchmarking ourselves against other schools, we are able to see just how we measure up as an institution committed to sustainable practices and environmentally conscious lifestyles (and maybe earn some bragging rights, too). The competition takes place over the course of 8 weeks each Spring; schools measure and report their respective amounts of trash and recycling. These are turned into scores, which are posted and constantly updated to try and rally student bodies to do better and continuously improve their ecological footprint.


The classic 8-week tournament has several different categories in which to measure waste reduction, the first being Diversion.This category is focused on the percentage of recyclables and diverted food waste from the total overall waste of the school. Basically, whichever school has the highest percentage of their waste being sustainably handled will be crowned the winner, and be nationally recognized for their efforts and waste removal programs. The second category measures recyclables and food waste reported on a per person basis, done by taking the school’s total weight of recycling and dividing it by the population of the students and staff. In short, this is more about the average amount of  waste and recycling each person generates. This category also has a “most improved” award, which Knox will be eligible to participate in next year. The final category is the most complex, and is focused on food waste. Based on the EPA’s Food Recovery Hierarchy, schools are awarded points based on the number of food waste minimization activities that are put in place, in addition to food waste diversion efforts, such as food donated to those in need, fed to animals, used for biofuels, or composted. While the first method measures the entire school as a single unit, and the second is focused on the individual as the waste producer, this category focuses on finding alternate uses for waste instead of strictly minimizing it.


Knox is not new to waste reduction and recycling efforts. And many of the food waste activities are already in place, such as reusable to-go containers and trayless dining. On top of that, measuring food waste is no new thing for Knox students, as the Food Recovery Network just had their Weight the Waste event on the week of the 22nd. These initiatives prove that we can do well in this competition, and be sustainable whilst still having fun.


Recyclemania kicks off formally on Feb 4th!  Read more about events planned during the 8-week competition at www.knox.edu/RecycleMania.


Follow Knox’s efforts as we post weekly updates:




Follow the national event on social media:





Knox and An Inconvenient Sequel

Digital Poster_preview

More than a decade ago, the revolutionary documentary An Inconvenient Truth brought environmentalism into the public light and showed the world the dangers of climate change. On October 26th, Knox College was honored to participate in a free screening of former Vice President, Presidential candidate and famous environmentalist Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power’, and participating in a live streaming Question and Answer session with Al Gore himself.

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Pumpkins and You

Pumpkin Carving

Knox College students carving pumpkins, sponsored by Union Board for Homecoming 2016.

After an unusually hot start to the season, Autumn is here in full force and the characteristic overcast, gloomy days are here to stay. These day-long drizzles just make most of us want to forget our responsibilities and have a well-deserved nap amidst the midterm frenzy, and it is not an uncommon sight to see many of us carrying around delicious pumpkin spice lattes, or perhaps more accurately they are the ones carrying us around. While pumpkins are a seasonal delight this time of year and do well to accentuate our living spaces around Halloween, we likely don’t consider the impact our round orange friends have on our environment.

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Graduation Pledge 2017



A student signing the GPA during commencement 2016. (Photo courtesy of Knox College Flickr)

It’s that time of year once again, time for all the hard work of another group of Knox students to finally pay off. This next week is going to be filled with lots of hugs and lots of tears as the senior class of 2017 celebrates their last week at Knox before graduation on June 4th. Each individual is headed on a different path and the grads are getting ready to make their post-Knox debut into the world. There’s no need for concern about these grads forgetting their sustainability roots however, because 236 (and counting) have already signed the Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility!

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There Is No Away: How to Be Part of 2017’s Waste Free Move Out



Unfortunately when it comes to disposing of unwanted items the American way of thinking is to just throw it away; this simplifies to “out of sight and out of mind.” But every good environmentalist knows is there is no away when it comes to trash. This is an important thing to remember as you start packing up your things for the summer. It’s always rather bewildering at the end of the school year to look around your room and see all the random things that you have accumulated. It’s a pretty safe bet that you won’t be packing up every individual item you own to take back with you. That’s where the Sustainability Office can help. Here are the answers to all the questions you might be having about how to contribute to a sustainable campus move out!

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Restorative Nature on Campus



Knox Students enjoying a sunny day in a tree. (Image courtesy of Knox College Flickr)

Flunk Day has passed, deadlines are getting closer, the lure of summer is deafening- getting through the last couple weeks of Spring term can be stressful. On top of that, most time is spent indoors studying and in class. On average, Americans spend 93% of their time either indoors or in an enclosed vehicle, no wonder we’re so stressed (Green, 2016). Fortunately, there are ways to help. You don’t need a day at the spa to restore you to a calm and healthy state of mind, you don’t even need an entire forest, all you need to do is to walk out your door! Psychologists agree that the restorative effects of nature are many including reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension, and the production of stress causing hormones (Larson, 2016). Here are 5 ways to restore your mind and body with nature, without even leaving Knox!

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5 Earth Friendly Summer Activities


When on campus it is easy to get involved with sustainability. There are ample opportunities to take eco-centered classes, volunteer at the farm, and partake in sustainable club events. When you have a whole summer free however, it is easy to let sustainability fall by the wayside. Here are 5 activities you can partake in during your summer that will help keep you in the environmental mindset!

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Fun talks and festivals: Sending Earth Month out with a bang!

Earth Month Logo 2017

This April has been one of the most action packed Earth Months Knox has seen in awhile. Instead of devoting only one week to celebrating the planet, as has been done in the past, the sustainability oriented clubs and organizations on campus have filled up the entire month! Over the past few weeks we have seen educational speakers, hands on workshops, planting events, and more. Here are the highlights of the two key events from this Earth Month, the Equinox speaker and the Earth Day Festival itself! These two memorable events along with everything else throughout the month has truly made Earth Month 2017 one for the books!

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Herbs, Leo, Fashion Shows and more: Earth Month fun continues!

Earth Month Logo 2017

This month has been jam packed with environmentally themed events to help celebrate Earth Month! Week one started off with a terrarium workshop that brought in almost 70 people! This was shortly followed by a non-traditional recycling drive that helped raise awareness of the many different types of items that  Knox recycles in addition to the regular recycling stream, as well as the locations for non-traditional recycling across campus. If you want more information on non-traditional recycling at Knox, check out last week’s blog post.

Week two was packed with even more fun events! In case you missed any of the action, here’s a recap of the recent Earth Month Events over the last ten days:

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