Student News

UK EcoReps host events to educate campus community about sustainability

The UK EcoReps.
The UK EcoReps.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 27, 2023) — The University of Kentucky EcoRep program is an intern-led program established in 2017 as part of UK Recycling's goals to increase recycling and waste diversion efforts on campus.  This program’s goal is to help educate fellow students on different aspects of sustainability throughout the school year.

EcoReps serve as sustainability ambassadors in their residence hall as they provide outreach, organize and participate in events and help further the university’s sustainability goals. The following is authored by Kathryn Tutwiler, UK Recycling’s EcoReps coordinator for this academic year.

When I took over as the EcoReps coordinator this academic year, I decided to incorporate different aspects of UK’s 2017-2022’s Sustainability Strategic Plan (SSP) into the events each EcoRep hosted in order to assure those attending the events would receive a well-rounded education in sustainability.

I incorporated the SSP by dividing the EcoReps into interest groups based on the seven different strategies outlined in the plan (materials management, energy, food and dining services, transportation, buildings and grounds, greenhouse gas emissions and water), allowing the EcoReps to choose their groups based on which area they were passionate about. 

Each interest group developed an activity for their event.

In February, the EcoReps held events in their dorms, on subjects such as: what is recyclable on campus, the Campus Waste to Zero Waste competition and what students can do to reduce single-use plastics. Now, the EcoRep members are holding events based on their interest group in a larger scale, targeting not just students in the residence halls but the entire UK community.

The upcoming events include:

  • The water interest group: On Monday, March 27, from noon to 2 p.m. at Jacob Science Building. This group will be looking at the quality of different water sources. These sources will include rainwater, tap water and water in the stream by University Drive. Participants at the event will be able to test the pH of the different water sources with water testing strips.
  • The buildings and grounds interest group: This event will be held at Mathew’s Garden on March 29  from 5 to 7 p.m. The event will explore the different native plants at the garden and learn fun facts about them. Participants will also get to spin a prize wheel at the end of the nature walk.
  • The energy interest group: On Saturday, April 1, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Gatton Student Center. This event will look at how much energy appliances use while they are plugged in but not turned on.

For more information about the EcoReps program click here and follow them on Instagram here. If you are interested in serving as a future EcoRep, please contact the UK Recycling Office at 859-257-6234 or For more information about UK Recycling, visit their website at