Your Chance to Body Slam Waste

Join the 'Green Devil Smackdown,' which begins Feb. 3

The Green Monkeys, a team comprised of Duke students, faculty and staff, won last year's Green Devil Smackdown, earning the championship belt. Sign up has begun so Duke community members can start creating teams to compete for the belt. Photo by Duke Pho

Are you ready to re-enter the ring?

Starting this week, students and employees can form teams and take part in Duke's annual Green Devil Smackdown, the sustainability-themed team competition that has participants make sustainable decisions to rack up points and prizes.

Last year about 1,400 students, faculty and staff participated in the Smackdown by finding their carbon footprint with Duke's Carbon Calculator, answering quizzes on Duke's sustainable history and hosting meatless potlucks.

While teams compete for the grand prize - a wrestling belt and recognition at an annual sustainability awards luncheon - individuals compete for weekly prizes like a bicycle pump, free Duke Campus Farm produce and more. Everyone who participates regularly will also win a set of travel bamboo utensils. Over eight weeks (Feb. 3 to March 28), participants accrue points for each action; teams are ranked by average points per participant.

"Each year, we look forward to the Green Devil Smackdown as a way to highlight how being sustainable doesn't have to be hard or boring," said Casey Roe, outreach coordinator for Sustainable Duke. "From group videos to organized events, we always see coworkers and student groups having fun with it."

Sign up is available online.

New aspects of the competition include a "Smackdown in Cameron" event with games and activities, as well as more ways to earn points by interacting on social media and a recycled art competition. The Smackdown in Cameron event will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Feb. 5 inside Cameron Indoor Stadium.

This year's teams will be working to knock off reigning champion, "The Green Monkeys," a group of Duke community members from the Biology and Evolutionary Anthropology departments. In the 2012-13 competition, The Green Monkeys compiled an average of 3,062 points for each of its 32 team participants, amassing about 500 more points than the second-place team, DUSON Green Team, from the School of Nursing.

Jake Gordon, a lab technician in the Department of Biology and last year's team leader for The Green Monkeys, said he’s excited to defend the title with his coworkers so he can put new emphasis on living sustainably. That will include a renewed focus on keeping participation up through in-person and online communication and hosting monthly team gatherings, like a vegetarian potluck.

"We want to avoid a common problem of taking a quiz or doing the minimum and forgetting about the rest," he said. "It's about keeping up the spirit of the competition - that making changes in our lives become what we always do, not just what we’re encouraged to do."