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Welcome Celebration Recycling (Ongoing)


Each August, thousands of new students come to the Urbana campus to participate in Welcome Week activities. Directly after new student convocation, students walk to Lot 31 to participate in the Welcome Celebration Lunch & Tabling. Dining Services serves thousands of students via buffet lines in a matter of 20-30 minutes. Tables are set up throughout the area for new students to learn about different interest groups on campus. Dining Services serves several thousand bottles/cans during this time, and the goal of waste management is to ensure that these bottles/cans are properly recycled.


A meeting with the Sustainability Sub-Council in March 2022 launched a sustainability collaboration between the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and Coca-Cola. Per the contract, Coca-Cola and the university have a shared budget that they can mutually agree to spend on sustainability initiatives. One of the first collaborations between the two entities took place in August 2022, when Coca-Cola provided moveable trash and recycling bins for the Welcome Celebration 2022. In assessing the lessons learned from that experience the group determined the following:

  • Sturdier bins are needed. The chloroplast bins used at the Welcome Celebration 2022 were prone to falling over.
  • Bins with more contrasting color are needed. The first edition of the chloroplast bins used a very dark navy for recycling, which did not offer enough sharp contrast between trash (colored black).
  • It would be beneficial to have a small group of volunteers guarding bins and educating students on what is and is not recyclable. Many recyclables were lost because they were landfilled.

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Project Team

  • Project Leader:

    Daphne Hulse

    Team Members:

    • Daphne Hulse
    • Jake Slager
    • Thurman Etchison
    • Jen Fraterrigo
    • Sarah Carten

    Prior Contacts:

    • Meredith Moore
    • Shreya Mahajan