In a recent announcement, Healthy Schools Campaign congratulated Texas Tech University’s Housing Division (UHD) for winning the 2015 Green Cleaning Award Honorable Mention for Recycling. The award is in recognition of UHDs development of a groundbreaking program.

Texas Tech University, in Lubbock, Texas, is taking recycling to a new level, establishing itself as a leader and expert on sustainability within the Red Raider community both on and off campus. In fact, this college campus actually takes in recycling from people and businesses all over Lubbock. And what it’s doing to engage the students on campus is paying back, literally.

In 2009, UHD began working closely with the university’s Sustainability Department, and partnered with a local recycling company to collect 11 tons of cardboard following move-in weekend. Building off of that success, school representatives decided to put bins out in all residence halls and quickly collected 39 tons of recycled product in one weekend.

Since that weekend seven years ago, sustainability has become embedded in the UHD’s culture. Last year, UHD collected 400 tons of recycled material. And in an effort to promote their efforts, the entire custodial crew wears green sustainability shirts. This is a motivator and award for staff because they don’t have to wear their uniforms, and they can have a little fun.

The UHD also has a surprising method for engaging students in its program: It hires them. By partnering with the financial aid office, the division was able to create 10-12 part-time on-campus jobs for students that include anything from driving around and picking up recyclables to hand sorting. There is also a volunteer student group called Red Raider Recyclers, who help educate parents and students on sustainability and get them excited about the recycling program.

Lubbock, located in remote Northwestern Texas, doesn’t have a lot of environmentally minded programs, which makes Texas Tech’s commitment to recycling all the more groundbreaking. In fact, the school is not only considered a local expert and advocate for recycling, but it’s also considered a recycling station for the vast majority of the city.

Those recyclables are then sold and the proceeds go to Sustainability Scholarships. The first year of the program, the University gave out 10 scholarships of $1,000 each. This year, 35 students received funds.

To read more about the program, click here.