As President Drew Faust threw out the ceremonial first pitch during Harvard Night at Boston’s Fenway Park on Sept. 22, thousands of spectators  were busy throwing out their recyclable plastic cups and bottles in the bags held by 30 Harvard students who spent the evening volunteering for the Red Sox Green Team.  The students, the majority of whom were freshmen who had expressed a commitment to the environment and sustainability through the Green ’14 program, were joined by the University’s recycling czar Rob Gogan and staff from the Office for Sustainability.

The volunteers’ evening kicked off with an orientation from a member of the Red Sox staff and then the eager group of students spread throughout Fenway to collect bags of recyclables. The students said they appreciated the opportunity to help the environment and represent the University while exploring the nation’s oldest ballpark.

“The experience was incredible! Not only did we get to explore Fenway Park, but we all got to do something we were passionate about,” said Kristen Wraith ’14.  “It was amazing how well the crowd responded to the Green Team. I had so many people thank me for what I was doing and ask how they could do the same. This is something that I would do again in a second.”

This wasn’t the first group of Harvard students to help show the Fenway faithful that “green” is the new “crimson.” Last spring, a group of Graduate School of Education students volunteered on the Fenway Green Team during the Red Sox first home game of the season. The Red Sox organization recruits volunteer Green Teams to collect recyclables during games throughout each season.

As part of Harvard’s commitment to building a healthier, more sustainable campus the University has made recycling and composting a priority.  The recycling rate at Harvard’s main campus is 55 percent, thanks in part to the adoption of single stream recycling.  Single stream recycling means all recyclables – from paper products to bottles and cans – go in the same bin. Recently, Harvard Recycling announced that even paper coffee cups and pizza boxes (if the food has been scraped out) can be recycled. Of course, it’s always best to bring your own reusable coffee mug with you to reduce waste and even save money (many cafes on campus offer discounts to students with reusable mugs). Recycling is also incorporated into all home football games at Harvard Stadium.

To learn more about single stream recycling, check out Harvard’s September Green Tip of the Month.