'Recyclopaths' Go Crazy For Sustainability

Duke community begins Green Devil Smackdown competition

While the "Karate Elite Force Champions" battle the "Recylopaths," no one will probably get hurt.

Except for carbon emissions, that is.

These are just two of the fun monikers Duke community members created for their teams in the Green Devil Smackdown, an eight-week team competition to encourage sustainable behaviors on campus. The wrestling-themed program asks for teams of Duke students, faculty and staff to fight for a more sustainable Duke by earning points for "green" actions like taking the bus, carpooling or completing the Duke Carbon Calculator.

"I have a roommate who is not the most conscientious recycler, so I've had a habit of coming home to our apartment and going through the trash to take out the recycling he throws in there and move it to our recycling bin," explained junior Tom Atwood, team leader of the Recyclopaths. "In the fall, he started calling me a 'recyclopath' because he was joking I'm so crazy about recycling. He gets all the credit."

Along with 12 other teammates - including his roommate - Atwood is among 807 Duke students and employees who make up 56 teams competing in the Smackdown. The competition runs through April 20, when the team that earns the highest average points per participant will be crowned champion with a custom-designed Green Devil championship belt, among other prizes. Duke community members are able to join the competition at any time.

A drawing will be held at the end of the competition to award grand prizes to three individuals who participate in four of seven rounds of the competition. Prizes include a bicycle, Amazon Kindle and tickets to Duke basketball games.

Points will be awarded on a sliding scale based on difficulty. For example, a competitor receives 25 points for "liking" Sustainable Duke on Facebook. A one-time amount of 625 points is given for obtaining an alternative transportation permit to bike or carpool to campus instead of driving alone.

In Student Affairs, Lisa Churchill hopes her team will be hoisting the Smackdown belt. "Green Eggs and No Ham" features 19 employees and plans to get a fast start in the competition because their office in the Flowers Building already has a Green Workplace Certification, which is worth 300 points.

"Most of us in the office live a sustainable lifestyle," Churchill said. "It's all our environment, so we want to do what we can to make sure it's around for a long time."

Sign up for the Smackdown and find more fun team names online.