LSU's Annual Fall Fest Celebration Gets Green Makeover


University implements large-scale composting and recycling effort to reduce waste


LSU’s annual welcome back celebration for students has taken an eco-friendly turn. Fall Fest, a university tradition for more than 15 years, will now feature a composting and recycling effort to minimize the amount of waste produced by the event.

The celebration will take place this Friday, Oct. 9, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the LSU Quadrangle. More than 40 booths representing both campus units and area businesses will be set up in the LSU Quad with information and giveaways, while several activities will also be available, including University Recreation’s new green treadmills.

The event begins with the entrance of The Golden Band from Tigerland, LSU Golden Girls and LSU cheerleaders and a welcome from LSU Chancellor Michael Martin and Student Government President Stuart Watkins. Following performances by the band and LSU spirit squads, the National Pan-Hellenic Council will host a Yard Show with performances by several LSU fraternities and sororities.

Throughout Fall Fest, a “Meet Your Advisor” fair will also be held in the Exxon Quadrangle, located between Hill Memorial Library and Middleton Library. Representatives from 19 campus departments and colleges will be on hand to speak with first-year and transfer students about research opportunities and student projects.

“We generally welcome more than 25,000 students, staff and faculty to the Quad area during Fall Fest,” said Nancy Little, Fall Fest organizer and marketing strategist at LSU’s Office of Communications & University Relations. “Almost everyone enjoys the food handed out by the university and other event partners – it’s part of what makes Fall Fest so festive.”

Those in attendance will be served their choice of free hamburgers, sausage po-boys, pizza, chips, soft drinks, water, coffee, popsicles and more at the Food Courts located in both the Exxon Quad and the LSU Quad, while local vendors will also be giving away various food and drink items in the LSU Quad.

According to Little, food and drink containers made up the largest amount of Fall Fest waste in prior years, so she worked with Fall Fest partners to ensure that everything possible be made from compostable or recyclable goods.

“We decided to reaffirm the university’s commitment to sustainability by taking as big of a bite out of the environmental impact as possible,” said Little.

In continuing with the eco-friendly efforts of the Green Tiger Project at LSU, Fall Fest participants will be encouraged to recycle or compost their waste in marked receptacles throughout the LSU and Exxon Quads. While not all items being distributed by sponsors during the celebration will be recyclable or suitable for composting, everything supplied by the university at the main food tents falls into one of those categories. Volunteers will be on-hand to help patrons dispose of their waste properly.

Items intended for compost include food leftovers; paper napkins, wrappers and food trays; and wax beverage or ice cream cups. Empty plastic cups and bottles; aluminum cans; cardboard; and bulk paper should be recycled, and the only items to be disposed of in trash bins are plastic utensils and cup lids; styrofoam food cartons and cups; pens and pencils.

“Turning an event the size of Fall Fest into an eco-friendly gathering is no small undertaking,” said Denise Scribner, LSU’s sustainability manager. “This is a large-scale event for recycling and composting, so we expect that there might be a few bumps here and there, but that overall, we’re going to have a great response from everyone involved.”

In addition to university efforts, the LSU Student Government has partnered with Frito-Lay and TerraCycle, a multi-category, eco-friendly business geared toward assisting non-profit organizations with sustainability efforts, to offer chip bag recycling. This type of bag is typically not recyclable, but TerraCycle will take all returned chip containers and create consumer products such as tote bags, backpacks and other accessories out of them. Frito-Lay is sponsoring this campaign by donating $0.02 to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank for every Frito-Lay branded chip bag returned to TerraCycle and by paying for the shipment of all used bags to TerraCycle. The LSU Student Government voted two weeks ago on which local charity would receive the donations, selecting Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank as recipient.

“The chip bag recycling at Fall Fest will be the start of a larger campus-wide campaign to recycle chip bags. Students will be able to find chip bag collection bins in the Tiger Lair, 459 Outtakes, Mini Mart, Pierre's Landing, Middleton Library and the Foster Hall Subway,” said, LSU Student Government Director of Sustainability Cas Smith.

For more information about Fall Fest, visit http://www.lsu.edu/students/fallfest/ or contact Nancy Little at 225-578-3859 or nlittl1@lsu.edu.

Ashley Berthelot and Melissa Foley | Editors | Office of Communications & University Relations
October 2009